Friday, August 21, 2009

A tree like Ringo...?

They say that August is 'silly season' as the media scratches around for stories to fill their columns during the holidays.

This piece of journalism in today's Spalding Guardian about a tree in Holbeach that is said to resemble Beatles drummer Ringo Starr shows that south Lincs is far from exempt from the silliness...

But then again...

Care for elderly under threat again...?

The Tory council which trebled home care charges for some of the most vulnerable people in Lincolnshire are now considering cutting wardens at sheltered accommodation according to a report in this morning's Stamford Mercury.

Same old Tories, eh?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What planet does 'moat-man' inhabit...?

The Lincolnshire Tory grandee famous for having his moat cleaned at public expense has backed calls by one of his Conservative colleagues for MPs pay to be doubled to £130,000.

Douglas Hogg, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, and his wife "Lady" Hogg have both been embroiled in the expenses scandal, but Mr Hogg has joined Tory calls for MPs to receive a massive pay increase at public expense.

The Hoggs and fellow Tory grandee Sir Patrick Cormack clearly belong to the Alan Duncan club who are so out of touch that they believe anyone who has to live on £60k a year is existing on rations.

It's the same club whose members label those claiming benefits as 'scroungers'.

What planet do they inhabit?

London Paper folds...

Sorry to hear of the demise of the Murdoch owned freebie The London Paper which was launched a few years ago to rival the London Standard's Lite free paper.

Tory's election was illegal...

A Conservative has been forced to resign from Lincolnshire County Council after just eight weeks after it was revealed her nomination broke election law.

Now a by-election is to be held in Boston.

And guess who's paying...?

Er, you and me!

Men in white coats to target Alan Duncan...?

Alan Duncan could be challenged as MP for Rutland and Melton by the likes of Martin Bell or even Terry Waite after his ill-judged comments to the man who dug up his lawn that MPs are forced to 'live on rations' following the expenses scandal...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prescott tells Americans: Don't listen to Tory right wing on NHS

Attack the NHS and incur the wrath of Labour...

Never forget that the doctors and the Tories opposed the introduction of the NHS over 60 years ago - just as the hard-right in America are fighting Obama's health care reforms today.

But Prescott has told America not to listen to the misrepresentations of British MEP Dan Hannan who fuelled the anti-reform debate with an ourtargeous attack on the NHS.

Same old Tories eh?

Bet some of his best friends are gay...

So Tory MEP for the East Midlands Roger Helmer believes that homophobia does not exist...

I wonder what Nick Boles has to say about his colleague's latest outrage. Boles of course is reported to be openly gay - and Tory parliamentary candidate for Stamford and Grantham.

More to the point, I suppose, what's David Cameron's response to this latest challenge from the hard-right of the Conservative Party...

You'll remember of course that Dave wants us to think that the Tories have changed and are no longer the anti-gay Nasty Party.

Dave's reaction to Helmer?

Er, not a squeak.

Same old Tories eh?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senior Tory's whinge after expenses scandal...

So Alan Duncan thinks MPs are 'treated like sh**' and have to 'live on rations'...

The Tory MP for Rutland and Melton been forced to apologise after being caught on camera giving his private views on the expenses scandal - in which he was well and truly embroiled but refused to apologise for claiming a large wodge of public money for repairs to his ride-on lawnmower!

Who says the Tories are no longer the Nasty Party?

UPDATE: The BBC carries more of Mr. Duncan's comments when he was being secretly recorded in which he appears to justify claiming £1,000 a year to maintain his garden by saying the actual cost was £2,000 and he could have 'claimed the bloody lot'.

What's that saying about when in a hole...?

Monday, August 10, 2009

What a way to run a railway...

Chaos on the East Coast Main Line this morning.

Some sort of breakdown north of Peterborough blocked the line, meaning no London-bound National Express trains after the 8.04.

As the platforms backed up with people, First Capital Connect added to the misery with further delays.

The station announcer seemed to have an endless resource in excuses as first a train was cancelled due to "earlier signalling problems", then another was delayed due to "awaiting a crew" and a third late due to "lack of availability of carriages".

Was I naive to think there was a simple solution to FCC's apparent dilemma of a train crew without a train as well as a train without a crew...surely it didn't need the brains of an Arch Bishop to get at least something moving?

When it looked like the earliest train to get to London would be the 9.15 FCC service which "only" stops at Huntingdon, St Neots, Biggleswade and Stevenage before Kings Cross, everyone gravitated to Platform 3A to patiently wait...

(One commuter on Platform 2 lost his rag, which provided a few minutes entertainment as he remonstrated with a gaggle of rather self-important station staff, one of whom arrogantly warned him: "Don't push it!"

Which of course, would be rather sensible advice, for railway staff to have followed in the circumstances...)

Needless to say, the 9.15 was also seriously late. And with no indication of when it might actually turn up, passengers started moving back to Platform 2 where the even slower 9.23 was waiting with the prospect of SEVEN station stops before KX...

What a way to run a railway...

Senior Tory attacks Tory NHS plans...

Mad. Naive. Dangeorus. Hazardous. All words used to describe Conservative plans for the NHS. All chosen by senior Tory David Davis in an article he penned for a Sunday paper!

With friends like that...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Local councillor says she is victim of BBC 'sting'...

A leading south Lincs councillor has been defending her actions after a BBC undercover investigation into alleged discrimination against migrant workers trying to rent accomodation in Spalding.

Angela Newton (Independent), Leader of the Opposition Group on South Holland District Council, who works as an estate agent, has strongly denied any suggestion of racism and says she was 'brainwashed' and has told the Lincs Free Press that she was the victim of heavy editing by the BBC programme which was broadcast earlier this week.

Strong stuff.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Look who's a Twitter now...!

I have to chuckle: Lincolnshire County Council has finally joined the modern world of Twitter...

When I joined Twitter some months ago, the Stamford Mercury (one of the first local papers to join Twitter) ran an article allowing me to explain why, as a county councillor, I thought it was a useful way of communicating with electors.

A barrage of wry comments of derision - mainly from the dinosaurs on the Tory benches - was aimed my way, largely dismissing the very idea of Twitter. Many of the old-timers are of course fully signed up members of the Flat Earth Society who think that the internet is a passing phase that will never replace the quill pen!

I stopped being a county councillor a couple of months ago. But let me warmly welcome Lincolnshire County Council to the 21st Century...!

PS: Good to see that our Conservative-run County Council has joined Twitter despite David Cameron's attempt at being 'cool' by swearing about it on a radio programme aimed at a younger audience the other day when he was asked if he was a twitter...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Who's holding our council to account...?

This week's Stamford Mercury has run South Kesteven District Council's press release on the appointment of the new Chief Executive word for word.

What, no questions...?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

What on earth is going on at South Kesteven District Council...?

Tory Leader of SKDC Linda Neal is trying to justify banning anyone who doesn't already work for the council from applying for the £105k a year top job.

At the same time, she refuses to confirm reports that she authorised a £100,000 pay-off to get rid of the biking Duncan Kerr who mysteriously and suddenly quit the job a couple of months ago - the Grantham Journal says he was sacked.

The Council insists that their deal with Duncan Kerr to quietly pedal all the way to the bank is "confidential" and nothing to do with us - local taxpayers who are forced to stump up the money!

Congratulations of course to Beverly Agass, whose appointment as new Chief Exec was rubber-stamped at a meeting of SKDC. I don't know if anyone else even applied for the job, but I'm sure we all wish her well.

And congratulations to the Grantham Journal for asking the right questions.

The Journal reports that the council voted to get rid off former boss Duncan Kerr and

The position of chief executive was only open to internal candidates already working within the council.

Council leader Linda Neal defended the appointment process.

She said: "I would like to state emphatically, Mrs Agass actually got the job - we did not give it to her.

"There was nothing about the whole process that gave any leeway to Mrs Agass because she was already working here."
Except of course, that if she wasn't "already working here", she wouldn't have been allowed to even apply for the job!

For the record, I've posted on the debacle HERE, HERE, and HERE
mysterious departure of Duncan-the-bike-Kerr.