Sunday, June 29, 2008

Motty the Voice retires as World Champion...

As the final whistle is blown in Vienna to signal Spain's well-deserved victory over Germany as European Football Champions, their first Spanish success in a major final since before England won the World Cup, brilliant veteran commentator John Motson finally delivers his pre-prepared classic line:

The Senors have become the Seniors...
Quality Mottie. Quality.

Sadly, tonight's game was Motty's final big-match commentary after more than three decades at the top.

I'm not a footie fanatic, and I know he's famed for his gaffes, my all time favourites being:
it's Arsenal 0, Everton 1, and the longer it stays like that, the more you've got to fancy Everton.
for those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all yellow strip.
The Daily Mail devoted a full-page to these and others earlier in the week.

Great fun. But whatever they may say, for me, Motty's meticulous research, infectious excitement, and natural charm made even the dullest match worth watching.

A true professional. Thanks Motty.

Gus gets lucky...

What's got one eye, no hair, three legs and is a world champion...?

So who's guilty of snooping in the dustbins...?

Councils snooping on rubbish bins is one of the so-called 'erosions of liberty' that David Davis is quick to blame the Labour Government for.

I wonder if he saw this story published a few days before he pulled his stunt of resigning his parliamentary seat, then standing again in an unnecessary and expensive by-election.

The story is from the Brighton Argus site and is about Mid-Sussex District Council spending hundreds of pounds taking wheelie bins and sifting throught them to see how much waste food has been dumped - all without the permission of the residents/

The story was - no surprise - manna from heaven for the Daily Mail who followed up the Argus tale with the headline
'Council snooping on residents' leftovers' (sorry, no link).

So who runs Mid-Sussex, the snooping Council...?

Yep, the Conservatives!!!

Same old Tories, eh?

Have you seen my crocodile...?

Letter from this week's Bourne Local.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

You can ask the Tories questions, but don't expect any answers soon...

Lincolnshire Tories hate being held to account. On Wednesday I spent a frustrating three hours asking questions but getting few answers on the Tory's cuts to home-school transport entitlements.

Not one backbench county councillor attempted to even justify the cuts - but they voted them through all the same.

Yesterday, perfectly legitimate questions on police funding - asked at question time - went unanswered at Lincolnshire County Council.

I notice from the Stamford Mercury that the Tories who run South Kesteven District Council are using procedural devices to avoid answering questions on why they offer local pensioners the meannest concessionary fares scheme in the whole of Lincolnshire...

Same old Tories, eh?

Friday, June 27, 2008

If the cap fits...

Every Lincolnshire council taxpayer's bill is to be cut by almost £70 - thanks to the Labour Government.

Today, the Tory members of Lincolnshire Police Authority who forced through the biggest council tax rise for policing in Britain were condemned for their actions in a motion debated by Lincolnshire County Council.

But their colleagues closed ranks and supported their decision to increase bills for policing in Lincolnshire by an eye-watering 78.9 per cent.

As posted HERE in February, as a member of the Police Authority, I recognised the need for an increase above the five per cent limit set by the Government after hearing that there was a 'budget deficit' of £5.9 million in the coming year.

But I never felt that a hike of 78.9 per cent could be justified and would make 'capping' almost inevitable.

The Tory county councillors on the police authority wouldn't listen.

They went for broke and decided to force Lincolnshire ratepayers to cough up an extra £24 million - more than four times the 'budget deficit'.

Make no mistake: without Tory support, the massive increase could not have been approved.

No-one can be surprised that the Government has said 'no' and instructed lower bills to be sent out.

more later...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Scumbags use dog to rob 83-year-old Deepings man...

Peterborough Evening Telegraph

Lincs Tories force through cuts to home-school transport...

First meeting back from holidays this morning was a bad-tempered affair as I led a hopeless attempt at preventing the Tories who control Lincolnshire County Council from cutting entitlement of home-to-school transport for hundreds of our young people.

Despite widespread opposition, the Tories stuck their heads in the sand and pressed ahead with their cuts which frankly, are just plain daft.

As posted HERE, in February, they have decided to

* Scrap entitlement to help with travel costs when a child moves home in an exam year but wants to finish a course of education at their current school.

* Raise cash from children who live within two or three miles of their school and don't legally qualify for free transport. They will be charged £190 a year to use 'spare seats' on school buses which more than 500 children currently get for free.

* end entitlement to subsidised travel where parents exercise their right to send their children to a faith school. (The County Council will continue to pay the full costs of transport for those who similarly exercise their right to attend a Grammar School which appears to be discriminatory to me).

* Raise more cash by increasing travel charges to students who stay on at school or college after the age of 16 to £190 a year. (Despite Lincolnshire having the lowest staying-on rate in the country).

Three hours bashing our collective heads against the wall doing the impossible: trying to make Tories see sense.

Most refused even to attempt to justify or defend their cuts or engage in debate.
The only contribution in three hours for example from the Tory Chief Whip Martin Trollope-Bellew (Tallington) and former Council Chairman Colin Helstrip (Stamford) was a lengthy point of order to try to stop me asking questions about their daft plan.

Asking questions and holding them to account was of course, the whole point of the call-in.

Not one member of the so-called Scrutiny Committee spoke in favour of the cuts.

Rather than listen to reasoned argument and attempt to justify their actions, many Tories seemed to be there simply to steam-roller opposition and vote through the Executive's plan.

Which they did en-bloc.

Same old Tories.

(more later maybe...)

Normal service to resume Wednesday...!

just arrived home after a week away from it all, including computers, papers and British lots to catch up on - after i've had a kip!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How did Den Dover MEP pay for a pair of luxury cars...?

One of David Cameron's senior MEPs who was sacked as his Chief Whip in Brussels over expenses last week has now been accused of using parliamentary allowances to pay for two luxury cars, according to today's Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bet he wouldn't call Joe Calzaghe a 'greasy wop'...

The Tory candidate who labelled Italians 'greasy wops' on live radio has been suspended in his bid to be MP for the key South Wales seat of Vale of Glamorgan at the next election.

I posted HERE after the Western Mail splashed on the outrage yesterday.

Alun Cairns tried to limit the damage to his political career by apologising to Italians and stepping down as chairman of the Finance Committee at the Welsh Assembly.

He had the sense to accept that he could no longer serve in that role. But for some reason thought he could carry on as a parliamentary candidate.

It clearly wasn't enough.

Today, he was 'suspended' as a parliamentary candidate 'pending an investigation by the Party Chairman...' .

And who exactly is the Party Chairman...?

Step forward David Cameron's 'sleaze-buster in chief' Caroline Spelman, who herself is being investigated over her own conduct in the Nannygate affair.

To be honest, in Mr Cairns' case, there's very little to investigate.

Despite a slick operation over the past 24-hours to play-down his offensive remarks, his outrageous and totally unprovoked insult is helpfully recorded for posterity on BBC tapes.

The outspoken Mr Cairns is banged to rights with no wriggle room.

It may have been a 'moment of madness' but if 'greasy' and 'wops' are the first words that he writes when referring to Italians, he has shown that he is not fit to hold office at any level.

It was a disgraceful slur on the Welsh-Italian community which this weekend celebrated the CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honour announced on Friday
for one of their most famous sons: the undisputed world super-middleweight Joe Calzaghe, aka 'The Pride of Wales' aka 'The Italian Dragon'.

I bet three rounds with Joe Calzaghe would teach the misguided Mr Cairns that despite his thoughts, it is simply not acceptable to call Italians 'greasy wops'.

UPDATE: Monday's Mirror follows up the story.

Nannygate: Tories change their story...

Today's Sunday Times reveals discrepancies in the accounts given so far by David Cameron's chief 'sleaze-buster' Caroline Spelman over payments from the public purse to her Nanny...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Speeding farmer jailed for death of Deepings girl...

A farmer has been jailed for two years for killing a Deepings school-girl in a high speed road-crash.

The life of 18-year-old Katie Shields was taken when the car she was driving was rammed by a Grand Cherokee Jeep travelling at over 70 mph in the same direction at Deeping St Nicholas. It is believed Katie was turning right at Hop Pole.

At the time of the tragedy, I posted on the lost chance for a by-pass on the arrow straight road through Deeping St Nic.

Katie, a sixth form student at The Deepings School, was a highly talented young lady. She had been British Tae-Kwon-Do champion and had been accepted at Birmingham University.

It was the second fatal accident that the Jeep driver, a farmer from Surfleet had been involved in. In 1993 he was driving a Mercedes car in a crash in which his wife was killed.

In 1993 he was driving a Mercedes car in a crash in which his wife was killed.

Racist insults show true face of Cameron's Nasty Party...

One of David Cameron's candidates at the next general election has described Italians as 'greasy wops' on a live radio broadcast.

Alun Cairns is already a member of the Welsh Assembly and hopes to overturn a Labour majority of 1,808 in the Vale of Glamorgan at the next election.

His disgraceful insult revealed in today's Western Mail, is not just a slur to all Italians - but to the entire Welsh-Italian community, many of whom are his own constituents.

Generations of Italians have settled in South Wales, and many Welsh people are proud of their strong Italian Italian family connections.

Alun Cairns has shown he is not fit to represent any of them. He has also demonstrated once again that Cameron's Tories are still the same old Nasty Party.

Cameron's leadership questioned as Grieve signals Tory flip-flop on 28 days...

More turmoil for David Cameron today as the man he hastily appointed to replace David Davis as Shadow Home Secretary signals a u-turn on Conservative support the current 28-day limit for detention without charge for suspected terrorists.

David Cameron's judgement in promoting Dominic Grieve after David Davis threw his toys out of his pram was already being questioned - specially within Conservative circles.

As highlighed yesterday on The Spectator website, the man who would be Home Secretary should the Tories win the next General Election, apparently described the actions of the 7/7 London suicide bombers who murderered 54 people and injured hundreds in London as 'totally explicable'.

And today, Dominic Grieve's comments in the Daily Telegraph calling for a limit of less than 28 days are surely further evidence of the divisions, farce and flip-flops of David Cameron's leadership.

It's worth remembering that it was not long since the Conservatives - including Cameron, Davis and Grieve all voted in the House of Commons to increase the maximum detention period without charge to 28-days.

What an incredible can of worms David Davis has opened...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Internment: The Inconvenient Truth for David Davis...

David Davis's basic argument is fundamentally flawed: He talks of how Parliament has nobly defended the freedom of people for centuries, until a Labour Government this week supported detention of terror suspects for a maximum 42 days without charge...

Firstly, didn't David Davis himself vote to increase the maximum detention period to 28-days just a couple of years ago...?

Why was he in favour of an increase to four weeks then, but six weeks now suddenly becomes an issue to force a by-election over...?

Secondly, at different times in our history, British governments have implemented internment - and with none of the protections for the individual which were enshrined in this week's measures.

Has David Davis forgotten that in 1971, British Prime Minister Ted Heath approved the rounding-up and indefinite jailing of hundreds of British citizens without trial and without charge?

In 1971, MPs like Mr Davis weren't given a vote on the issue as he was this week. Not even a debate in Parliament.

Just an executive announcement - after more than 300 men had already been detained indefinitely in dawn raids.

This certainly was an 'erosion of freedoms' and it happened under a British Prime Minister of the same political party as David Davis...

Incidentally, it was a Labour Home Secretary - Merlyn Rees - who finally ended the policy.

So it is wrong for Mr Davis to at least hint that no British Government since Magna Carta has ever locked anyone up for six weeks without charge.

Internment seventies-style was draconian when compared with the sensible measures which were democratically approved this week after proper parliamentary and public debate and a whole series of safeguards incorporated to ensure protection of individual rights.

An absolute maximum 42-days detention in 'exceptional and extra-ordinary' individual cases, with regular scrutiny in the interests of the suspect is very different to simply rounding up hundreds of suspects, detaining them indefinitely without charge and then announcing the policy change.

But internment wasn't invented in 1971. It simply implemented long-standing legislation previously used by British Governments in almost every decade of the 20th Century.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, for example, 300 men were rounded up by security forces and detained without charge for an average of two years.

Two years is very different to 42 days.

I made my views clear both before the vote - The answer is 42 - and in response to David Davis's Bizarre stunt or as blogger Bob Piper more eloquently put it: a cunning stunt.

But David Cameron is reportedly spitting nails with David Davis's antics - and today's headlines show why.

Here's just a few...

Daily Telegraph - Tensions with Cameron lay behind Davis resignation...

Daily Mail - Tories in turmoil..

The Times - ...frustrated Cameron

The Scotsman - Tories ridiculed...

And The Sun, who may run thir own candidate against Mr Davis - Who Dares Whinges. Shadow Home Secretary and SAS reservist David Davis plunged a dagger into the heart of his party yesterday by quitting his job in a strop over Labour’s terror crackdown.

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson says when shocked Tory 'Leader' David Cameron said David Davis was 'courageous', it was parliamentary code for 'bonkers'.

Which coincidentally, is the very word David Davis admits that his wife used to describe his bizarre behaviour...

The Sun may stand by-election candidate...

The Sun may put up their own candidate to take on David Davis in the parliamentary by-election he called today after failing to defeat the Government on '42 days'.

Former editor Kelvin McKenzie told BBC's This Week programme that he had already met media mogul Rupert Murdoch who said that if Labour decided not to stand a candidate against Davis, then The Sun should.

McKenzie says Murdoch asked him to consider standing - with the backing of Britain's biggest selling newspaper.

He added: "Rupert is good for the money...and I might well do it."

McKenzie made it clear that both he and public opinion are strongly in favour of extending detention for terror suspects to a maximum 42 days.

Earlier in the programme, presenter Andrew Neil said that while Davis had not discussed his by election plan directly with Tory Leader David Cameron, he had consulted with Liberty campaigner Shami Charabarti.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bizarre stunt exposes Tory splits and Cameron's weak leadership...

Today's bizarre stunt by David Davis in forcing a needless - and costly - parliamentary by-election after losing the democratic vote shows David Cameron and the Tories in disarray...

As the BBC's political editor suggests Cameron has lost the plot, it's worth reflecting on what The Sun says today following last night's Commons vote on locking up suspected terrorists for a maximum 42 days without charge:

GORDON Brown is entitled to considerable satisfaction after his victory in last night’s terror vote.

He stood up for the fight against extremism in the face of deeply hostile criticism and predictions of disaster — not least from his own party.

The same cannot be said for the Opposition who seemed more concerned about narrow self-interest than the national interest.
We expect nothing less from the Lib-Dems. But we might have hoped for better from Conservatives who aim one day to be in charge of protecting Britain from attack.

The move to detain terror suspects for 42 days without charge is backed by police and security chiefs.

It is supported by seven out of ten voters, instinctively by many of David Cameron’s own Tory MPs and — as The Sun revealed yesterday — by his grassroots voters.
Yet they were all whipped into the Opposition lobby, apparently for opposition’s sake.

Some demeaned themselves by shabbily jeering Ulster MPs who supported the PM, knowing more than most about fighting terror.

Yes, it was a narrow government margin: just nine votes.

But that was enough to give police and security services the tools they need to test complex evidence against dangerous extremists.

We must hope we will NEVER need to detain a suspect for 42 days.

But Gordon Brown rightly argued that now is the time to act — in a period of calm debate, not in the wake of a national catastrophe.

It would have been deeply irresponsible to wait until Britain was in deadly peril before realising 28 days was not long enough.

The Commons struggle was a major victory for the PM after a torrid six months. He passed it with credit.

Now he has a precious breathing space — and the opportunity to prove to the country he has the vision and the energy as Prime Minister.

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson says:

David Cameron has lost control of his strategy. This was not his decision. He wasn't asked for his agreement.
In other words, he's lost the plot.

And while senior Tories admit they knew hadn't a clue about the intentions of the man who challenged David Cameron for the leadership of the Conservative Party a couple of years ago, LibDem Leader Nick Clegg had been informed.

All of which leaves a big question about David Cameron's leadership...

UPDATE: The Three Line Whip blog published this morning at the Daily Telegraph website puts the rest of the day's events in some kind of perspective....

The future becomes the past...

The futuristic flying-saucer shaped Megatron building which landed at the junction of the A1-A14 eighteen years ago has disappeared off the face of the earth.

Ironically perhaps, in their coverage of the Megatron's demise, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph use a Google Earth picture of the Megatron taken from space, a service unthinkable when some bright spark dreamed up the mad Megatron concept.

Like most people, I often hurried past it heading towards the M11, but never felt the need to dine there.

When it arrived in 1990, it relied on personnel from the nearby US Air Force base Alconbury to leave their base and sample British culture and cuisine by picking up a Megatron burger ordered at a computer console and flipped by staff in space-style uniforms.

Its decline seems to have coincided with the end of the Cold War, which came soon after it opened, when many of the Americans and their families who were over here went back over there.

The Megatron was eventually taken over and relaunched by McDonalds, but has been rotting away for years - before the bulldozers moved in this week.

I suppose it never really took off...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The answer is 42...

When our MPs vote today on locking up suspected terrorists for up to 42-days without charge, I hope they will put party interests aside and vote for what is right to protect all of us.

It is sad that cross-party concensus has collapsed on a crucial issue of national security.

Those against 42-days detention cite erosion of individual human rights of suspected terrorists. But this is nothing like, for instance, the abomination of Guantanamo Bay where people were caged like animals for years without charge and with little regard for their basic human rights.

On the extremely rare occasions it is envisaged that our police need to hold terror suspects for more than 28 days before charge, they will have to go through a whole series of hoops and protections for the suspect.

But this is surely much bigger than individuals. It's about protecting us all from the very serious threat of terror attacks. We must give our security forces the time they need to do their job and prevent another 7/7 or worse a 9/11 in Britain.

Peter Clarke who was until recently head of Scotland Yard's counter terrorism unit says 42 days is about protecting the public, and that we should legislate now, not in an emergency.

Former Met Chief Lord Stevens, backs 42 days. Lord Stevens has been an adviser to David Cameron and even headed a Conservative Policy task force for the Tory Leader.

The latest YouGov poll in today's Daily Telegraph shows almost three out of four people (69 per cent) support raising the detention limit from 28 days to 42 days 'in exceptional circumstances'.
Even Conservative Home, the so-called grassroots voice of Tories has today backed 42 days.

I believe those against 42 days - whether Labour rebels, David Cameron or the LibDems are wrong.

I hope my MP - Conservative John Hayes - and all those currently against 42 days will see sense at the eleventh hour, and vote today to put our country first.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Senior Tory defects to Labour over 42-days...

A senior Tory has defected to Labour accusing David Cameron of trying to score political points above the national interest.

The final straw for Cllr Les Byrom CBE, was David Cameron's failure to support the Govermment in today's Commons vote on extending pre-trial detention to a maximum 42 days.

Cllr Byrom has written to David Cameron to resign from the Conservative party, saying the Tory line on pre-trial detention is

"typical of a general approach to the serious issues our nation faces and one I can no longer support".
Cllr Byrom is a big player in North West politics as Leader of Sefton Council for almost 15 years and the Conservatives' North West Regional Assembly Group Leader.

Good to see another top Tory no longer prepared to put up with David Cameron's shallow salesmanship and failure to deal with the serious issues facing the country.

Welcome to Labour Les.

More HERE.

More discrimination on the buses for local pensioners and disabled people...

Pensioners and disabled people across South Kesteven are being denied free all-day bus travel - thanks to the meanest district council in Lincolnshire.

South Kesteven District Council is the only local authority in the whole of Lincolnshire refusing to join a county-wide scheme to help pensioners and disabled people.

Over the years, I've campaigned to improve bus travel, particularly for our pensioners and disabled people. That's how I became known as Fair Deal Phil!

As county councillor for Deeping St James, I've lobbied for a county-wide scheme to end the unfairness. But South Kesteven District Council - and even our local district councillors elected to represent local people - would not sign up.

There was great news in April when Gordon Brown brought in free off-peak bus travel across the country for pass holders.

In a welcome gesture, Lincolnshire County Council has now agreed to stump up the cash to top up the Government scheme and make the bus passes free round-the-clock - if the district councils would match this subsidy.

Six district councils have willingly agreed - South Holland, Lincoln, Boston, East Lindsey, West Lindsey and North Kesteven.

But not South Kesteven.

According to figures in today's Spalding Guardian, it would cost SKDC a little over £17,000 to allow pensioners and disabled people to use their passes at any time.

That sounds like good value to me.

But the county scheme will go ahead without SK.

That means that every council taxpayer in the Deepings and across SK will be forced to pay the county council subsidy - but receive none of the benefits.

Once again, local pensioners and disabled people will have to pay for the incompetence of our Grantham-based district council.

SKDC: Hang your heads in shame.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nannygate: 'Tory insiders' cast doubt on Spelman's story...

The Sunday Times says Tory insiders claim the registered Nanny paid by Tory Party chairman Caroline Spelman out of the public purse did NOT write letters or do other routine work normally undertaken by an MP's secretary.

If the revelations in the Sunday Times are accurate, then the accusations of sleaze at the very heart of David Cameron's Conservative Party will stick.

While the 'whoopsies' in Europe are one thing, a Tory cover-up involving David Cameron's party chairman and top 'sleaze-buster' Caroline Spelman would be much more damaging for David Cameron.

Certainly, there are too many unanswered questions in today's statements from Caroline Spelman and the Nanny herself which will continue to provide sleazy headlines for days to come.

Ms Spelman, in charge of making sure Tory MPs(and MEPs) don't get caught break rules on expenses, claims she paid Tina Haynes as her constituency secretary between 9am and 3pm every day when she first became an MP and that it was legitimate to pay her from her parliamentary staffing allowance.

Mr Spelman claims the registered nanny only provided childcare out of school hours for which she was unpaid, but in receipt of free board and lodge.

But according to Sunday Times, Tory insiders say
"although she worked five days a week, Haynes is not believed to have fulfilled the key role performed by most MPs constituency secretaries: answering letters and dealing with their queries."
In a statement on Saturday, Ms Spelman said hiring her nanny as her secretary was:
"a practical solution as she could deal with the secretarial side while the children were at school and then after school provide childcare for my kids..."
I note that one of her children was just two at the time. Was he really in school six hours a day at such a tender age? I suppose that would not be impossible, but Ms Spelman needs to explain more.

In the statement on Saturday, the Nanny said she did do "odd secretarial things" for Ms Spelman such as taking phone messages and posting documents.

But she seems to have forgotten whether she actually did secretarial work for 30 hours a week as Ms Spelman has claimed.

Even the Tory's favourite Sunday paper, the Telegraph says the Tory chairman was forced to issue a 'humiliating statement' and faces various calls to pay back the money and resign.

I suspect there's much more to come on this one...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tory chairman gives new meaning to 'The Nanny State'...

Tory Party chairman Caroline Spelman has admitted paying her nanny from the public purse but says she has done nothing wrong.

But if the MP who was tasked by David Cameron to clean up the Tory image on parliamentary allowances is innocent, she quickly needs to produce the evidence to back up Tory HQ claims that the 'nanny' actually worked six hours a day as Ms Spelman's constituency secretary.

The nanny herself made it clear in a BBC interview that she was employed as nanny to Ms Spelman's children and in that capacity occasionally answered the phone or dealt with the post.

That's a long, long way from six hours a day!

So who's telling the truth...?

If the Meriden MP is innocent, she will surely be able to produce the paperwork that will clear her name.

Until then, as ITN says, these latest disclosures are 'another blow to the integrity of the Conservative Party'

Friday, June 06, 2008

Newsnight Questions over Tory Chairman Caroline Spelman and the public purse...

Tory Party chairman Caroline Spelman appears to have paid the wages of her nanny out of the public purse, apparently breaking rules on parliamentary allowances, according to BBC Newsnight's top story tonight.

Ironically, it was Ms Spelman who was tasked by Tory Leader David Cameron to clean up the Tory image following the £445,000 expenses scandal of Giles 'oops-a-daisy' Chichester.

He was forced yesterday to resign as Leader of the Tories in Europe after admitting breaching European Parliament rules.

Ms Spelman was due this weekend to examine Mr Chichester's expense claims!

Newsnight reporter Michael Crick called into question attempts by Tory HQ to claim that Mrs Spelman's nanny was constituency secretary as well as childminder. A Tory Party spokesperson suggested that a large part of Tina Haynes' work was as a secretary.

But in a telephone interview with Crick earlier today, Ms Haynes made it clear that although she occasionally answered the phone and posted letters, her primary role was childminding...

As former standards chairman Alistair Graham told Newsnight: "These stories are very damaging to our political system."

At least we now know what the Tories mean when they talk about 'The Nanny State'...

UPDATE: The BBC website is now carrying the story.

UPDATE 2: Now also running on the Daily Mail website.

Surely not a Third whoopsie Davey...?

A third Tory MEP is under pressure after revelations about expense claims appeared this afternoon on the blogsite Guido Fawkes.

The BBC has just reported that Scottish MEP John Purvis - seen here with David Cameron - has issued a statement saying 'he doesn't know' if he has broken the rules.

Yesterday, Giles Chichester admitted breaching the rules on expenses after reports that he's paid his family £445,000 in public money.

He stupidly tried to laugh off the scandal by saying: 'whoops-a-daisy...' before he was forced to step down asa Leader of the Tories in Europe.

This afternoon, Den Dover was forced out as Tory Chief Whip in Europe: I understand that the Conservative Party have denied that his removal has anything to do with media stories today that he paid his wife and daughter three-quarters-of-a-million pounds of public money from the European Parliament.

Now a third Tory appears to be in te frame...

With what looks like three whoopsies in 24 hours, Tory Leader 'Davey' Cameron must be wondering where it will all end.

Meanwhile, thought you'd enjoy this snap of Giles Chichester taken before he was forced to step down as Leader of the Tories in Europe.

'Keep the Pound' Tory steps down after paying his family £750,000...

A second top Tory has been forced to step down after it was revealed that he has handed £758,000 in public money to his wife and daughter.

£758,000. That's over three-quarters of a million. Pounds. Not Euros.

David Cameron's Chief Whip at the European Parliament Den Dover denies any wrong-doing in paying his wife and daughter more than three-quarters of a million pounds of public money over the past nine years.

He is a leading campaigner to "Keep the Pound".

Now we know what he means.

The news comes less than 24-hours after Giles Chichester resigned as Tory Leader in Brussels after an expenses scandal involving £445,000.

These scandals don't just damage the Tory Party.

They damage democracy itself.

Your invitation to see Lincs Police at work...

Lincolnshire taxpayers who have just received the biggest increase in bills in the country to fund local policing, have been invited to a free family day out this Sunday.

It's an open invitation to every resident of the county to see first-hand how Lincolnshire Police operates.

The action-packed day includes demonstrations from control and restraint techniques and use of incapacitant spray, the high-tech Automatic Number Plate Recognition system, Police dog training, Police divers demonstrating in the lake in the grounds of Police HQ...

The county's Ambucopter will be on display, there's conducted tours of the Force Communications and Control Centre to see how 999 and non-emergency calls are handled...

...marching displays by the Volunteer Police Cadets and the Royal Air Force Waddington Pipe Band...

And a chance to test your driving skills on the police skid-pan!

There's even a bouncy castle...

Details HERE

Whoops-a-daisy Tory resigns after new expenses scandal...

The senior Tory politician who tried to laugh off a £400,000 expenses scandal, arrogantly saying 'whoops-a-daisy' - as posted HERE earlier today - was tonight forced resign as Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament.

But he will continue as a Tory MEP.

I understand Friday's Daily Mail will call for David Cameron to expel Giles Chichester from the Conservative Party.

ET features ambitious plan for DSJ...

The Evening Telegraph has picked up on my post which unveiled ambitious plans to build new community facilities in Deeping St James.

I posted HERE three weeks ago on the plans for a Rugby clubhouse and car park, Arts Centre, Nursing Home and affordable homes.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: New Chief Constable for Lincolnshire...

New Chief Constable of Lincolnshire has been named today as current Deputy Chief of the county's police service Richard Crompton.

As a member of Lincolnshire Police Authority, I have known Richard since he came to Lincolnshire as DCC four years ago from Cumbria and I'm delighted that he's now been appointed to the top job following the retirement of current Chief Constable, Tony Lake, QPM.

Richard was responsible for ground-breaking work in setting up the East Midlands Collaboration Team which is recognised across the country as one of the most effective examples of Police Forces working together.

As Angela Crowe, Chairman of the Police Authority says:

“Richard has more than demonstrated his capabilities over the past four years. We are reassured that this appointment will serve the county well for years to come. In Richard, we have a hard working, dynamic and committed Officer who is passionate about the county. We are delighted that he will be Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable.”
Congratulations Richard.

Exposed: Sleazy deals by Cameron 'sleazebuster'...

The man David Cameron appointed as his top 'sleaze-buster' in Europe has been caught funnelling more than £400,000 of public money into his own private company.

Following recent expenses scandals, the Tory Leader gave Giles Chichester the job of making sure none of his MEPs was caught breaking the rules on expenses.

Chichester devised a new Code of Conduct on expenses for the Tory team of MEPs he leads in the European Parliament.

But The Times reveals today that Chichester has channelled £445,000 for 'office services' to a company founded by his late father - round the world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester.

That's more than TEN times the £40,000 of public money that Tory MP Derek Conway was caught handing his son while he was a student.

And that scandal cost Con-way his seat.

A senior MP tells The Times: ' Cameron move to sort this out...'

We're watching.

Mr Sleazebuster has admitted breaching the rules over a five year period.

What does he have to say about his transgression...?

'whoops a daisy...OK, hands up, mea culpa...'

Same old Tories eh?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Barack Obama really is on fire...!

Were you still up for Barack Obama's historic victory speech last night as he claimed the Democratic nomination...?

Are we witnessing a real change in American politics. Are Americans and the world ready for an Afro-American in the White House.

I particularly liked the way he honoured Republican challenger John McCain's service to his country - then destroyed him by saying that the way he has backed George Bush is not the change Americans are looking for...

It really is worth watching the entire vid.

Just enjoy.

Boris on fire...almost

As Boris Johnson lit the touchpaper for the parliamentary by-election for his seat in Henley-on-Thames, he almost went up in flames...literally.

Now that he's Mayor of London, the Tories have called a three-week quickie in a bid to deny the LibDem machine time to gain momentum. Who can blame them?

Seems the Tories were also anxious that the campaign should not clash with the Henley Regatta!

But back to Boris on fire: From Glen Oglaza on Adam Boulton's Sky blog.

The flames had clearly gone out by the time Boris arrived at Parliament later for his final appearance at Prime Minister's Questions. He managed to botch his question and had to be stopped in his tracks by Mr Speaker and reminded that he was not there to make a party political statement as Mayor of London but to ask a question as MP for Henley...

Same old Boris!

UPDATE 1: I referred earlier to Henley Regatta. It is of course Henley Royal Regatta. Pardon my slip. Those interested will know it takes place in the first week of July.

UPDATE 2:ITV and others now reporting likely by-election date as Thursday, 26th June, though writ not yet officially moved.

Obama clinches it as Clinton pulls one more surprise...

As the gruelling five-month Democratic nomination race appears to be finally over with Barack Obama expected to clinch victory, beaten Hillary Clinton pulled one more surprise - by winning the South Dakota primary against predictions.

Despite her win, Barack Obama is thought likely to pick up enough delegates in Montana and South Dakota as well as so-called super-delegates to allow him to claim victory.

She appeared to accept the inevitable, praising 'her friend' Barack Obama and what he has achieved in his remarkable campaign.

But she also refused to concede defeat, telling her screaming New Yorkers that she would "make no decisions tonight".

Earlier, Republican nominee John McCain, clearly seeing who he will be facing in the Election in November, praised 'his friend' Hillary Clinton and said she had not received the recognition she deserved.

As Barack Obama has made 'change' his winning mantra, McCain attacked him as 'the wrong change' and claimed he, McCain, was 'the right change'.

He also attempted to distance himself from Bush and likely Obama attacks that a vote for McCain will be for a disastrous third term of Bush...

Less than a year ago, few people has even heard of Barack Obama: Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in to win the Democratic nomination and unstoppable as the first woman President of the United States.

At the same time, John McCain's chances had been written off as unlikely winner of even the Republican nomination.

If a week's a long time in politics, a year is a lifetime...

UPDATE: Barack Obama: '...I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States...'

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Guess whose Lincoln Greenery is skin-deep...?

Guess which politician took a chauffeur-driven car 140-miles from Lincoln to London after the recording of last Thursday's BBC Question Time programme...?

No, not Tory or Labour...but Caroline Lucas, leading light of the er, Green Party. Her first contribution to the BBC debate in Lincoln was to criticise other political parties for what she described as their 'skin-deep greenery'.

The Green member of the European Parliament, went on to call for a dose of 'political honesty' over the costs of motoring.

The Lincolnshire Echo reveals that Ms Lucas missed a train to Lincoln and so took a car and that after the programme she was chaffeurred back to London in another car...

She'd prefer to portray a very different image - like this one of her 'cycling in her constituency' from her website.

Almost as hypocritical as when Tory Leader David Cameron was caught cycling to work to demonstrate his 'greenery' - with a chauffeur-driven gas-guzzler following behind carrying his shoes and briefcase!

Yes, almost...But not quite!

Monday, June 02, 2008

A question of honour...

Jim Speechley, former Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council was stripped of his CBE honour after he was jailed for abuse of office.

Absolutely right that the shamed ex-Crowland councillor can no longer claim to be a Commander of the Order of the British Empire...

I've just heard Channel Four News announce that the Government has begun the first steps to strip Robert Mugabe of the knighthood bestowed on him by Tory Prime Minister John Major for his 'significant contribution to Zimbabwe's relationship with Britain'.

About time too.

(Can't find a link on the internet yet, but here's Reuters report on Mugabe's 'obscene' appearance at an international conference in Rome today...)

But why oh why is former Lincolnshire Tory MP 'Baron' Jeffrey Archer of Weston-Super-Mare still officially a Lord, despite being sent to jail for four years in disgrace for perjury and conspiracy...?

Any ideas...?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More Government investment in local hospitals...

Stamford Mercury reports on the local NHS listening and responding at Stamford Hospital.