Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vote Labour or the fox gets it...

As the Government's focuses on helping people get through the world economic downturn, it appears that Her Majesty's Opposition have a rather different priority...changing the law to legalise hunting animals with dogs!

I notice that the advert next to the coverage of the local Boxing Day gathering of horse and hound in my local evening paper the Peterborough Evening Telegraph has this link which leads to an appeal to stop cruelty to animals before it occurs.

Not sure whether it’s clever advertising or merely a happy juxtaposition, but good to see the RSPCA which campaigned to get hunting with dogs outlawed remains one step ahead!

Tory moves to bring back hunting with dogs reminds me of a now classic leaflet produced in the parliamentary by-election in Eddisbury in the late 1990s, when fox-hunting became a dominant issue.

Sadly, I no longer seem to have a copy, but well remember the headline:

Vote Labour or the fox gets it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Award for our MP...

Congratulations to MP John Hayes who has been named Parliamentary Disability Charity Champion for his work to support brain-injured people and their carers.

John, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, was presented with the Disability Champion Award by Esther Rantzen at a ceremony at the Epolitix Charity Awards.

He suffered a serious head injury himself when he was in his early 20s and made an excellent recovery. Now, as an MP, he holds regular fund-raising events including an annual parliamentary cricket match, to help raise the profile of the Headway charity.

Police hunt hare coursers

Pleased to see Lincolnshire Police making arrests of lawbreakers who descend on our county at this time of the year for illegal hare-coursing. Lincs Free Press

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gentleman of Deepings surfs on...

Sad to pass on Christmas Day news of the death of gentleman John Hollman, father of Deepings Olympic athlete Julie.

The family have been neighbours here in Church Street, Deeping St James for a quarter of a century and I had the privilege of knowing John. A couple of years ago he was clearing out his garage and flogged me an old windsurfer, complete with sail which he said was clogging up his garage.

Now it's clogging up my garage! In the unlikely event that I ever make it on the water, I'll be thinking of John.

Sadly, John was not well enough to travel to Beijing as planned earlier this year to see his daughter take part in the Olympics in the heptathlon - but I know that seeing TV coverage of her competing on the world stage must have given him great comfort.

Thoughts with John's wife Carole and all the family.

(Photo: Peterborough Evening Telegraph).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A family's tragedy at Christmas...

A terrible loss for a 14-year-old to die at any time of the year, but this in Christmas week seems even more tragic.

Touching words from Chris Beckett, Head Teacher at Deepings School, commenting on the death of Danielle Beaver in a road accident earlier this week.

Danielle is the fourth Deepings student to die on the roads in the past two years.

I'm sure that our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, particularly in such tragic circumstances.

Why Cameron's team are revolting...

...And why they have so little to say on the current economic downturn (for the rest of us).

Anyway, it's in the FT.

No comment.

Radio 4 focus on Lincs child care cases...

News that the findings of a Lincolnshire County Council review into a case of serious child abuse may not be made public made the national news last night.

I was interviewed live by Eddie Mair (below, right) on the BBC Radio Four 'PM' programme at 5.45 last night, following my call earlier in the day to the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council to show political leadership by intervening in the case. I was responding to disturbing revelations in yesterday's Lincolnshire Echo that any failings which may have happened would be kept secret.

Sadly, the Council declined to take part in the Radio 4 programme, so we still don't know if Council Leader Martin Hill will involve himself in the case to ensure that the findings of the review are made public.

It was last June that a court was told that a young Lincoln mother left her two year old baby barricaded in her kitchen when she went out partying for a weekend.

The toddler was discovered by neighbours three days later in a flooded kitchen, covered in his own excrement and rummaged through rubbish bags for food 'like a dog'. The mother was jailed for 18 months and a County Council review ordered after it was revealed that the toddler had been removed from the 'at risk' register.

Clearly, it was the mother not the social workers or any other professional was responsible for what was described in court as the most serious case of child neglect ever seen by Lincolnshire Police...

But I also strongly believe that the people of Lincolnshire have a right to know what lessons can be learned from such cases, and what action is taken to protect children and minimise the chances of such abuse happening again.

In my view, the Council's statement in yesterday's Lincolnshire Echo that the findings may not be published do nothing to enhance public confidence in our local child care services.

The national spotlight is already on frontline services in Lincolnshire following the shocking case of the 'British Fritzl' who repeatedly raped his two daughters, leaving them pregnant 19 times. We'll have to wait for the outcome of the Serious Case Review into that case.

I understand there are another THREE ongoing serious case reviews involving child protection services in Lincolnshire - the case of the neglected toddler was not considered serious enough to warrant a 'serious case review' and instead a 'management review' was ordered.

But whatever the review is called, I would have thought Councillor Hill would want to avoid a public relations car-crash by giving assurances that the findings will be made public - and any lessons learned.

If you want a listen to the BBC Radio Four interview, it's HERE. Move the timer across to 45 minutes 30 seconds into the programme for the start of the interview.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Son of 'British Fritzl' says he warned authorities ten years ago...

The son of the beast who repeatedly raped his two daughters over more than 20 years leaving them pregnant 19 times has spoken of the horror of his childhood.
He says he warned the authorities a decade ago of his father's atrocious abuse, but sadly nothing was done.

I missed his interview on BBC Five Live on Friday, but it was picked up by the weekend papers.

The headlines from The Sun to the Daily Mail demonstrate that any lessons that can be learned must be learned - and seen to be acted on - by all the agencies who came into contact with the family over many years - including Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Police and local health services.

Public must have confidence in child protection services...

I have today made a public appeal to the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council to show some political leadership in making public the findings of a review following a case of child abuse which resulted in a mother being sent to jail.

Friday, December 19, 2008

14 year old girl dies on Deepings road...

Peterborough Evening Telegraph has the details of the latest fatal accident which appears to have happened near the spot where Market Deeping Mayor Bob Glass died when two cars crashed in 2003.

UPDATED: Floral tributes as the girl is named in the Stamford Mercury.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How did death Land Rover pass an MOT...?

Four young girls died in their father's badly botched Land Rover when it ran into a river in Lincolnshire. Today, their father faces a possible prison sentence as the heart-break story and photos of four beautiful girls are splashed across the front of the Daily Mirror.

Well done to Lincolnshire Police for securing the conviction after describing the vehicle in a Lincoln court as the worst maintained of its kind they had ever seen.

But if the death vehicle was so poorly maintained, how did it manage to pass its annual MOT test...?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is MP who called 999 dizzy, or what...?

An MP is under fire for dialling 999 after hearing strange noises in her central heating boiler.

The noises which prompted the emergency call-out turned out to be caused by an airlock in the system. Now LibDem MP Lynne Featherstone has been accused by Tory rival Brian Coleman of being a dizzy airhead...

She's fought back, accusing Mr Coleman of sexist remarks.

You may remember Brian Coleman. Earlier this year he outrageously accused British Olympic medallists as having blood on their hands.

He's otherwise known as 'Cabbie' Coleman after his astonishing claims for taxis on the rates came to light - including a £656 fare in just one day!

So who's the dizzy airhead...?

Answers on a postcard!

Bush the Shoe Dodger...

Now we know what George Dubya has been doing in the White House...His quality dodges to avoid being smacked in the face with a pair of size tens at a press conference in Iraq clearly demonstrate he has reached the star professional level on his Wii game...!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Miners champion who took on the greedy lawyers...

Good news that two of the greediest lawyers who got rich creaming millions of pounds from compensation payments to sick miners have been struck off. But if they are guilty of ripping off their clients, shouldn't they be locked up and made to pay back their ill-gotten gains?

In allegedly trousering a staggering £24 MILLION from the pockets of the miners who put their trust in them, one of the lawyers reportedly became Britain's highest paid solicitor. They are both apparently planning to appeal being struck off, claiming they have done nothing wrong.

It seems they were only doing what many others in their 'profession' were also doing!

Exposing their greed is a huge victory for Notts Labour MP John Mann (pictured).

John deserves a medal for his tireless campaign over many years for miners and their families who have been shortchanged by unscrupulous solicitors.

Knowing John, I'm sure he won't give up his fight for justice until every solicitor involved has paid back every penny piece due to the miners, their widows or their surviving families.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grammar school teacher's unacceptable behaviour...

Bourne Grammar School's reputation may take a knock with revelations that an assistant head teacher reduced a student to tears when she stuck tape over his mouth.

Tomorrow's Stamford Mercury has the full story.

I'm pleased to say that a General Teaching Council hearing ruled that such behaviour to be totally unacceptable.

When I was at school - Robert Pattinson Secondary Modern in North Hykeham - no-one batted an eyelid at far worse abuse by teachers.

Thank goodness that in the four decades since then, times have moved on.

When the earth moved and nearly all went down the pan...

This is a serious story about a man getting drenched after the earth moved in one of those newfangled superloos.

I culled it from the Islington Gazette.

Must have been really scary, but if you can get all the way through without laughing, let me know: you're a better person than me!

PS - Bet you didn't know there was a British Association for these matters...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bad week for Botcher Boris as another top aide quits...

David Cameron is likely regretting his photo-op with Tory playboy tycoon David Ross now that his £130 million shares scandal has been exposed.

But doesn't the judgement of Dave's Bullingdon Club mate Boris Johnson looks even worse than David Cameron's, as the Mayor of London hopelessly tried to save yet another of his top advisers. All this in the same week as he is being investigated over his behaviour in the Damien Green affair.

The headline in today's early London Standard was
'Boris stands by 2012 aide facing probe into £130m shares scandal'
The Standard declared that Boris was 'standing by' David Ross who he had appointed to oversee the 2012 London Olympics on his behalf - despite the fact that Mr Ross faces a formal investigation by the Financial Services Authority.

A spokesman for Boris told the Standard:
'If the FSA doesn't find any fault with David Ross all we have to go on is his firm saying it's an oversight. The Mayor is not yet convinced that the case for him going is overwhelming. The crucial fact is whther they can demonstrate in any convincing way that he's messed up. If the FSA doesn't say it's more serious then it is hard for us to act'.
Labour were quick to point out that despite Mr Ross being forced to resign under a financial cloud from the company he co-founded, Boris still thinks he's an appropriate person to oversee London's Olympic budget.

Labour quickly accused Boris of being so terrified of losing yet another adviser that he was failing to see that the longer Boris failed to act, the quicker financial confidence in the Olympics would diminish.

Within a couple of hours, the Standard was changing its headline, to reflect Ross's resignation as Boris's man at the Olympics.

If a week's a long time in politics, what's a couple of hours...?

The Standard went on to report that Ross's departure is
'a major blow to Mr Johnson and prompts further questions about the Mayor's judgment.'
He is of course the fourth senior City Hall aide Boris has lost in recent months.

Boris was forced to sack his chief political adviser, James McGrath, after the former Central Office aide suggested black people should "go home" to the Caribbean if they did not like living in Tory-controlled London.

Then his deputy mayor Ray Lewis - hailed as a champion by David Cameron - was forced to resign after allegations over 'financial irregularities and inappropriate behaviour'.

And then Tim Parker, another of Boris's deputy mayors who also served as chair of Transport for London, bcame the third of his senior team to quit in controversial circumstances.

Is this Boris's worst week so far as the most high-profile elected Conservative in the land?

I suppose it could be worse for David Cameron, pictured in most of today's newspapers with the fallen tycooon at a Tory social event: A Independent profile of Mr Ross suggests that he was considered as Tory candidate for Mayor of London...!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

East Mids lad is new world champ...

Britain has a new world champ.

Well done Carl Froch from Nottingham who has just become World Super Middleweight Champion after 12 classic and thrilling rounds against courageous French Canadian boxer Jean Pascal.

Pascal was undefeated until he was struck by 'Carl the Cobra' tonight. Froch won in a unanimous decision for the world title left vacant by Welshman Joe Calzaghee.

Why Bullingdon Boris is not fit to be in charge of policing...

Mayor of London and self-appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority Boris Johnson is under fire for contacting a suspect in a police investigation.

He's also probably prejudiced any trial by publicly suggesting that it's unlikely any charges will come of the said investigation.

Don't say you weren't warned and warned again about Bullingdon Boris's lack of fitness to be in charge of policing in our captial city...

Friday, December 05, 2008

A dozen more Children's Centres - thanks to Labour!

I see Tory controlled Lincolnshire is to receive more millions in grants from the Labour Government to open another dozen SureStart Children's Centres across the county.

There's already two dozen SureStarts giving thousands of Lincolnshire children a better start in life - including one that opened in The Deepings earlier this year.

The Tories who run Lincolnshire are happy to grab the extra millions from the Government and then attempt to claim the credit for opening new SureStarts.

Ironic then that if David Cameron's Tories were ever trusted to run the country, they are pledged to CUT investment for SureStart Children's Centres.

And the investment is indeed truly staggering, particularly considering that not one of these Children's Centres existed before 1997.

I recall a debate on SureStarts at a county council meeting some time ago when I proudly welcomed a Government announcement of £30 million to cover three years running costs for the existing SureStarts in Lincolnshire.

A Tory councillor thought he had spotted an obvious gaffe and jumped to his feet, anxious to correct me...

"Councillor Dilks has just suggested that the Labour Government has allocated £30 million for running SureStart Children's Centres for this county. Surely the £30 million figure is for the whole country, not just for this county...perhaps Councillor Dilks would like to apologise for attempting to mislead this Council..."
Er, no.

I was happy to let a senior officer wipe the smile off his face by telling him that I was right on the money!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Killer claims 170 Lincs lives...

A warning to us all about a deadly hazard that goes on killing...