Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cracking down on drugs in Lincs

Lincolnshire Police seized enough illegal drugs in one year to fill a double-decker bus...

Cameron's top donor defects to UKIP...

Bad news for the Tory Leader in today's News of the World

Mr Wheeler is clearly not persuaded by the red meat he's being thrown about the Tories leaving the centre-right EPP and joining a right-wing amalgam in Europe.

Mr Wheeler seems to be pissed off at Cameron's move to bring back pro-Euro Ken Clark onto his front bench...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Now a Tory Euro-MP slams Cameron as 'ridiculous'...

A Tory Euro-MP says she may leave the Conservatives after David Cameron's 'ridiculous' decision to pull his MEPs out of the centre-right alliance, leaving them isolated in Europe.

Cameron is trying to feed red-meat to the Euro-sceptic wing of the Conservative Party by insisting that his MEPs join a rag-bag on the right-wing of Europe, but is clearly facing a revolt from within.

News that one of his MEPs may quit comes hours after the Tory Leader of Thurrock Council dramatically cross the floor to join Labour over Cameron's priority to hand a tax-break to millionaires...

Tory Council Leader joins Labour over Cameron's tax chaos...

The Leader of a flagship Tory Council has quit the Conservatives and joined Labour in protest at
David Cameron's priority to give millionaires a tax-break rather than help working people struggling to pay their bills.

The Daily Mirror highlights the Tory tax chaos which led to the defection which rocked the Tories.

Terry Hipsey says Cameron should have listened to Ken Clarke who at the weekend tried to play down Tory plans for a tax break for millionaires by saying it was only an "aspiration".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Company protects profits & dividends: shock, horror!

Quote of the Day

Leader of the union Bob Crow said First Capital Connect and National Express East Anglia were seeking to cut jobs "solely to maintain profits and dividends."

Reason given for a 24-hour rail strike which will stop thousands of Peterborough commuters getting to work next Monday, as reported in tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph

130-mph racer caught by his own camera...

A motorist was apparently so proud of racing his VW Golf at over 130-miles-per-hour on Lincoln's by-pass that he posted a clip on the internet.

Lincs Police launched a lengthy inquiry after seeing the clip and eventually tracked down the driver. Yesterday he admitted a charge of racing on the public highway.

As well as a 15-month driving ban, he was ordered to pay over £800 in fines and costs.

Maybe he should also have been taken to the A153 near Sleaford where a 70-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife died in a head-on smash on Monday.

The couple from Beeston in Notts became the 12th and 13th people to die on Lincolnshire roads this year.

The 25-year old driver of the car they were in collison with is in Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Lincs Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at about 2pm on Monday, who may have seen any of the vehicles before the collision or the collision itself, to contact the witness hotline on 015622 558855.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Office money welcome for more Tasers...

The special Home Office grant of £275,000 to Lincolnshire Police to buy 300 Taser stun guns is great news for the county.

As a member of the local Police Authority, I gave evidence to the Home Office when Lincolnshire Police was one of five police forces to pilot Tasers five years ago.

I'm a big supporter of Tasers, despite the controvery that surrounds them.

Our police officers put themselves in the front line every day – often miles from back-up or support. It is vital that we give them the best tools available to protect themselves as they do their job of protecting the rest of us.

Only officers who pass a dedicated training course and assessment will be issued with Tasers. There are strict rules governing their use – and the Taser itself provides a record of when it has been fired and for how long.

Lincolnshire Officers always try to resolve violent situations without force, but it’s not always possible. For example, getting in close enough to effectively use CS spray may expose an officer to attack, where merely drawing a Taser could calm things down.

If that doesn’t work, a Taser dart may be the best way to end a violent situation quickly and without injury. In some cases, it may be the only alternative to a lethal bullet.

Of the two, I'd always prefer to be zapped by a Taser than a bullet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Amazing Grace shows Deeping's got Talent

Congratulations to teenager Grace Wain of Deeping St James who has been named Young Musician of the Year after the week-long Peterborough Music Festival.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ex-MP convicted after visit to The Old Soke...

Former Peterborough MP Helen Clark went ballistic in a drunken rage when she was denied more drink, a court heard.

It's a sad old business, and I hope I'm forgiven for smiling at the name of the bar where it happened: The Old Soke at the Great Eastern Hotel opposite Peterborough Rail Station...

You may recall that video of the astonishing outburst appeared on U-Tube some months ago. It was removed after Helen Clark apparently threatened legal action. I chose not to post the video itself, but if you're determined, I'm sure you can still find it on the t'internet. But be prepared for a shocking, but truly pathetic performance from someone who you may decide has a very serious problem.

I sincerely hope she's getting the help she clearly needs.

UPDATE: Guilty verdict.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

£2 million boost funds fens in Lincs...

Local Tories are celebrating winning a £2 million grant to help develop fenland communities around the Lincolnshire Wash.

No mention of where the money is coming from to support our local rural neighbourhoods...

Er, it's the Government.

Yep, that's the Labour Government, once again using local Tory-run councils as a conduit for investment.

Funny that, eh?

Tourism in Lincoln relegated to 2nd Division...?

I was first to welcome moves by the Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council to limit potential damage by shutting down both tourism centres serving historic Lincoln.

Martin Hill knows that the decision by his colleagues who run Lincoln City Council to save a few bob could cost the local economy dear in the long run.

He is putting on a brave face by hoping local businesses devoting a corner of their shop to promote Lincoln's attractions will offer a '21st Century' solution...

...But while no doubt better than nothing, will Martin's alternative plan relegate historic Lincoln to the second division of UK destinations, as suggested by one business leader in tonight's Echo?

I hope not...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Training a sooper-dooper pooper-scooper...?

A South Lincs council is unable to tackle problem dog-fouling until an officer has been trained in - wait for it - evidence gathering techniques.

Apparently, a South Holland Council officer is away on a course as we speak. No doubt, s/he is learning how to properly look into the matter.

Hope they issue him/her with a shovel...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bad parkers take note!

When I posted earlier today on inconsiderate parking, I hadn't seen this story in tonight's Evening Telegraph which reveals that a record number of parking tickets were issued last year in Peterborough...

No comment!

Still chasing stars - and throwing our cash at fat-cat lawyers...

Two letters in this week's Grantham Journal attacking Lincolnshire County Council's daft decision to launch a Judicial Review in the High Court to challenge their poor one-star rating for adult social services for the sixth year running...

As I posted HERE cases of this kind can cost local taxpayers £100,000 or even £150,000. It's an open cheque-book.

Instead of handing over our cash to fat cat London lawyers, wouldn't the money be better spent on improving the services that were judged to merit only one star, for the sixth year running?

Thoughtless drivers...

Why do drivers insist on driving illegally on footpaths? As I write this, there's a silver BMW and a white van parked on the path outside my house - the van is so close to my front door which opens on to Church Street that mums with babies or disabled people in wheelchairs would have to go into the road to get by.

Ignorance or what?

Could new powers for Lincolnshire's PCSOs save the day?

Hope so.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome move by Tory Leader...

May I be the first to welcome the intervention of the county council today in a bid to stop the closure of both tourist information offices in Lincoln to save a few bob.

I posted HERE on the short-sighted decision by the Conservatives who run the City.

Now, Martin Hill, Tory-Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, has stepped in to highlight the importance of tourism to the local economy, and called an emergency meeting to try to stop the closures.

I wish Martin every success in making his colleagues see sense...!

Meanwhile, in a fresh blow for Lincolnshire tourism today, East Midlands Trains have announced that they may close their travel centre at Lincoln Central, sparking a new row.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Praise for Police Community Support Officers...

Good to see two Police Community Support Officers in Peterborough officially recognised for their work...

It makes a pleasant change from seeing the role of PCSOs undermined as they were recently by by a Conservative county councillor member of Lincolnshire Police Authority...!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Red Arrows near disaster in end of the pier show...

An official report reveals that the RAF's Lincolnshire-based Red Arrows came just 900 feet from colliding with a BMI jet packed with holiday-makers.

The team of nine Hawk aircraft were forced to take evasive action after confusion among air-controllers led to them flying in the same air space as the passenger jet.

It happened while the Red Arrows were giving holiday-makers on the ground at Weston-Super-Mare a free show to cheer them up after the local pier had burned down last summer.

The end of the pier would have paled into insignificance considering what might have happened...

Then again, isn't flying at break-neck speeds just a few feet from another aircraft all in a days work for the top guns of our Royal Air Force...?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tory cuts that could cost our county dear...

The Tories who control the historic City of Lincoln have come up with the not-so-bright idea to save a few bob by shutting down the excellent tourism info centres.

One of them is the ideally placed heritage building - the beautifully restored former NatWest bank - on the cobbled square between the Castle and the Cathedral. And the other is on the prime site at the Cornhill on the main pedestrianised High Street.

Whenever I've been in either of the centres, they've been packed with people seeking infomation to assist their stay in our county, with helpful staff ready to sell the delights of Lincolnshire.

Lincoln - and the rest of the county - has a great deal to offer tourists - the finest Cathedral in the country for a start. But being slightly off the map, the city has always had to fight hard with places like York for its fair slice of the tourist cake.

Tourist information centres encourage those who do make it to the City to stay a while longer, perhaps discover a few more attractions on offer in Lincolnshire, and hopefully spend a few more quid to support the local economy.

Not surprisingly, a ring-round by the Lincs Echo reveals that other English cathedral cities think Lincoln's gone bonkers (or at least a bit daft) to do away with its tourist offices...

Meanwhile Lincolnshire's neighbour Rutland is preparing for an upturn in tourism this year as more people are expected to holiday in UK rather than venture abroad.

Sounds to me - and a lot of other people - that the people who run Lincoln need to rethink before they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lincs does the Poachers proud...

The Lincolnshire 'Poachers' received a 'proper welcome home' when they marched through their home city of Lincoln today.

Top marks to the Echo for its week long campaign for support for the local soldiers of the Second Battalion, The Royal Anglians who are rightly marking their homecoming from the war in Afghanistan with a series of freedom parades across the region they recruit from.

Fortunately, the lincoln parade saw none of the nonsense from an insulting minority which marred a similar event in Luton earlier in the week, but good to see Muslim Community Leaders and Labour MP for Luton Margaret Moran dismissing protesters as not representing the views of the majority.

Important to remember that unlike the tolerant democracy we enjoy in UK, there is no right to protest in many countries, !

It was two out of two for Lincolnshire this week - as the Poacher's parade in Stamford earlier in the week also went off without a hitch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lincs community officer shot with airgun...

A police community support officer has been shot with an airgun in Lincolnshire. A 26-year-old man was arrested for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life following the attack in Grantham, Lincolnshire Police said.

The police community support officer, who was on a routine patrol, was hit in the back but the pellet ricocheted off his body armour.

Police said he was unhurt by the shooting, which happened in London Road at about 2pm on Tuesday.

The suspect, who is from the area, is being questioned by officers at Grantham police station.

(from the Press Association).

UPDATE: from BBC - man charged

What on earth next...?

My daughter Claire lives across the border in Market Deeping, a lovely stroll along the banks of the River Welland (no passport needed)... Yesterday, she called in for a cuppa with my grandson Jack (aged six weeks, four days and eight hours).

When Claire reached the old stone bridge at Deeping St James, she took this snap on her mobile and emailed it to tell me to get the kettle on...

Talk about the advance of technology eh?

How on earth did we ever survive without mobile phones and the t'internet...?

And what wonders might be invented when young Jack's a Grand-dad...?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tough on Crime....2

Following my post on Saturday about a pair of Peterborough burglars sentenced to three years behind bars under Labour's 'three strikes' rule, this from Lincolnshire Police:

A 31-year old Skegness man has been sentenced to four years in prison for burglary.

The owners of the property he targetted were out when he struck. They returned home to find him inside their property. They confronted him but he fled on a bicycle and was arrested by police later that afternoon.

A four-year prison sentence sends a strong message to would-be burglars - and I hope offers some consolation for his victims...

Any advance on four years for burglary?

School places in Lincs...

Lincolnshire County Council admits that more than one in ten 11-year olds fails to get a place at their first choice school...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Throwing our money at the lawyers...

My attack on the decision by the Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council to spend thousands of pounds of public money in legal fees was picked up in this week's Lincs Free Press.

It really is total madness for Martin Hill to be throwing taxpayers cash at lawyers to chase another star...Lincolnshire County Council have been awarded just one-star for adult social care in each of the past six years despite year on year promises for two-stars. Now the county council is preparing to go to the High Court in London to challenge the one-star assessment by the independent inspectors.

No-one knows how much the planned Judicial Review in the High Court action may end up costing council taxpayers of Lincolnshire. Similar actions in the past are said to have cost up to £150,000.

Given the current economic downturn, I voted for a council tax freeze last month, but the ruling Conservatives forced through another increase - despite a generous increase in Government grants of more than six per cent - on top of last year's increase of over nine per cent.

As I said at the meeting, the last thing the people of Lincolnshire need as they struggle to survive the recession is a bigger council tax bill - specially when some of the extra raised will be spent chasing another star.

Rather than diverting our cash from vital services and giving it to expensive lawyers, Councillor Hill and the Tories would surely be wiser focusing on why they have been rated as one of the worst performing councils in the country when it comes to adult social care...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Tough on crime...

A pair of Peterborough burglars find out that Labour's 'three strikes and you're out' rule equals three years behind bars - despite two previous strikes being as far back as eight years ago.

Tarzan fined over dog crash

Headline of the week from my local paper - and Britain's oldest - The Stamford Mercury.

I'll now be looking out for a car on local roads with a 'Tarzan' windscreen sticker on the driver's side and 'Jane' on the on the passenger side.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New RAF jobs boost for South Lincs economy...

Stamford MP Quentin Davies has announced 165 new jobs at RAF Coningsby to support the deployment of the Typhoon Euro-fighter at the South Lincs.

BBC video on the Typhoons flying into Coningsby and what it means for the Lincolnshire economy HERE.

Millions extra for Lincs schools...

Lincolnshire schools are to receive an extra £16.5 million funding this year as part of the Government's commitment to investing in the local economy - and bringing forward improvements to benefit children and their teachers.

Investing millions more to improve Lincolnshire schools is good news at any time – but putting extra money into the local economy right now is a major boost to help local firms get through the recession and protect local jobs.

It's real help for local builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters and others who work in construction and a boost to children and teachers who will benefit from top quality new facilities sooner.

Every school in Lincolnshire will benefit from a share of the £5.7 million spending brought forward to the new financial year which starts in April. The money is in addition to £14.4 million already allocated.

It means that from next month, well over £20 million will go direct to Lincolnshire’s head teachers. Schools can choose how to spend the money as they see fit, from building new classrooms or science laboratories to fitting out new gyms or ICT facilities.

At the same time, the Government is allowing Lincolnshire County Council to bring forward £10.8 million of funding for larger school building projects. This is on top of £16.6 million already allocated, making a total of £27.4 million spending this year.

The dual announcements mean a total of £47.6 million will be spent on improving Lincolnshire’s school buildings and repairs from next month - £16.5 million of it brought forward from the following year.

I hope local schools will get on and spend the extra money - not just to improve facilities for pupils but to support small businesses and jobs.

Sadly, David Cameron’s Do-Nothing Tories oppose Labour’s plan to bring forward spending on school buildings.

Precisely when we should be supporting the economy, the Tories want to cut spending, including slashing billions of pounds from Labour’s school rebuilding programme.

I believe this would be bad news for Lincolnshire schools and bad news for jobs and businesses serving Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Support for our Local Police...

Pleased to see that our local paper, The Spalding Guardian splashed its front page this week with the story on Police Community Support Officers after I posted HERE.