Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Questions our MP must answer...

South Holland and Deepings MP John Hayes claimed more than twice as much as any other MP for mobile phone charges in the first four months of the new Parliament, according to the Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph which blew the lid on the scandal of Parliamentary expenses by exposing abuse by MPs,reports : "John Hayes spent £1,556 on mobile phone bills, twice the next-highest amount."

The period covered expense claims by MP from May 7 to August 31.

Almost £100 a week on phone bills sounds like a staggering amount, even for an MP.

But when the money is claimed from the public purse by a member of a Coalition Conservative-LibDem Govermment that keeps telling us 'we're all in this together'...surely those who are paying the bill are entitled to ask questions.

For there appears to be more than a whiff of hypocrisy in an MP spending more in a single day on phone bills than most of us spend in a month:

At the same time, Mr Hayes' Government is TREBLING tuition fees to make Uni students pay up to £9,000 a year, SLASHING funds for local policing by a staggering 20 per cent (despite Mr Hayes personally campaigining for more money for policing in Lincolnshire and getting re-elected on a promise of 'more police on our streets...').

Then there's the eye-watering 28 per cent CUTS to local councils here in Lincolnshire - on top of SCRAPPING the world renowned school sports partnership hailed by teachers here in south Lincs and across the country as achieving fantastic results.

Could this be the same Mr Hayes who launched a shameful personal attack on me a couple of years over 'expenses'.

In a desperate attempt to stop me being elected to South Kesteven District Council, Mr Hayes personally deliver disgraceful leaflets down my street the day before polling.

The wholly misleading leaflets suggested that as county councillor for DSJ, I had claimed a staggering amount in expenses.

As Mr Hayes well knows, unlike most county councillors - and unlike him - I never claimed a penny over eight years despite regularly driving the 90-mile round trip backwards and forwards to the council's offices in Lincoln.

I was entitled to thousands of pounds over the years. In fact, the public record shows I never claimed a single penny.

And by the way, in my seven or so years as a member of Lincolnshire Police Authority, I never claimed either for travel expenses, or the £20 an hour on offer that others claimed for doing the job.

Not looking for plaudits, but under false personal attack, it's important to me that the truth is known.

Sadly, the truth didn't stop Mr Hayes delivering his eve-of-election leaflets smearing my personal character.

If I was rich, I could have sought legal remedy in the courts. To be frank, I would have accepted a simple apology.

It never came - despite Mr Hayes claiming in his leaflets at this year's General Election: 'I'll never attack my local political opponents personally...'

Not sure what he would call his unjustified personal attacks on me over 'expenses'. I'm fairly certain that a court of law would call it an personal attack on my character made without justification.

In any case, it is surely reasonable to ask Mr Hayes why he now thinks it is right that taxpayers have paid his rather large phone bill.

Some might even say his bill is 'staggering'.

Of course, there may be a simple explanation and I'm sure that in the interests of transparency and accountability, Mr Hayes will now wish publish the offending phone bills.

Watch this space...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Police numbers to be cut in Lincs

Police numbers in Lincolnshire are likely to be cut as a result of the draconian ConDem Coalition austerity package.

So what does Tory MP John Hayes for South Holland and the Deepings have to say about that, I wonder.

I distinctly recall him promising MORE police not less in his general election leaflets which dropped on my mat only a few months ago.

Mr Hayes and his gang can't say they didn't know there was a big deficit - after all they campaigned on that very issue to get elected.

And after the election, official figures showed that the deficit was not as big as forecast before the election.

So will Mr Hayes be campaigning against the austerity package which is resulting in his election promises being broken within months...?

Let's hear it Mr Hayes!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is Construction Company casualty of Coalition Cuts...?

D. A. Green's are a well-respected local construction company which has a record of delivering prestige projects in both the public and private sector.

Or at least they were - until they were forced to call in the receivers this week, throwing 80 people on the dole.

No doubt our MP John Hayes who cheered on the age of austerity in the House of Commons this week will tell the jobless workers we're all in this together.

Friday, October 08, 2010

I have a dream...

Women fill half of posts in Ed Miliband's cabinet - headline from tonight's London Evening Standard.

I have a dream that one day the gender of those in top jobs is not news.

The gender agenda has made leaps and bounds in almost three decades since I became the proud father of two beautiful daughters - now both teachers.

But there's clearly a way still to go...

How to save millions on teacher redundancies and supply teachers...

Lincolnshire County Council spent more than £2 million in redundancy payment for teachers in the past year.

In the same period, the same Conservative-controlled authority also spent £3.5 million to hire supply teachers and agency staff in the county's schools.

Could I suggest some joined-up thinking at county hall that might just save a few million quid of our money...?

Instead of sacking teachers when schools close or merge, would it not be possible to create an internal 'supply team' to fill in for sickness and some of the other inevitable emergencies faced by schools?

They could also be used as a team to assist head teachers in schools which need extra help raising standards...

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cameron talking Balls...

David Cameron spoke much about 'fairness' in his speech today. Sadly the Prime Minister failed to practice what he preached...

His attempt to ridicule Labour's Ed Balls doesn't stand up to scrutiny and in my humble opinion, was disgracefully unfair.

Judge for yourself.

Here's verbatim what Mr Cameron said about Mr Balls:

"I want to give you an idea of the mentality we're fighting.

"Ed Balls, the man who used to be in charge of education in our country, said one of the dangers of our schools policy was that it would create 'winners'.

"Winners? We can't have that.." said Mr Cameron. He went on: "Anti-aspiration. Anti-success. Anti-parents who just want the best for their children. What an unbelieveable attitude from the Labour generation..."


Tonight, BBC Newsnight asked Central Conservative Office for the source of the PM's attack on Mr Balls.

Newsnight then played the tape of what Mr Balls actually said.

Here's the transcript:

"The danger is there will be some winners but it's dishonest to say their will not be losers as well."

If Mr Cameron thinks his attack is 'fair', isn't our Prime Minister even more out of touch with reality than he demonstrated with the unfairness of scrapping child benefit for families with an income of £44,000 while continuing to pay child benefit to families with an income of £87,000...

What do you think...?

Cameron on the back foot...

First, in the backlash of the child benefits debacle, he was forced to apologise that axing benefits for more than a million families was NOT in the Tory election manifesto.

(In fact, the Tories spent the general election campaign accusing Labour of scurrilous scaremongering after the Tories' secret plans to cut child benefit were exposed).

And secondly today, the Prime Minister was forced to defend his Chief spindoctor, former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson after more revelations in the phone-hacking scandal.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's the 'End of' as Tories go on the run...

Just 24 hours after the ConDem axe fell on more than a million families, Tory Children’s minister Tim Loughton has come up with the understatement of the year...

In the face of the storm and as the Mail splashed today on "Fury of Stay at Home Mums", Mr Loughton admitted that the move 'could be in need of more work...'!!!

The Tories are so out of touch with normal people that they thought their back of a fag packet ruse would get positive headlines for their Conference...

But hitting women and children first is not even popular with their own MPs.

A backbench revolt is already brewing as Tory MPs realise the move squeezes 'middle England' and threatens their survival at the next election. The revolt is likely to be led by David Davis, the MP who callenged David Cameron for the leadership of the Tory Party.

Today, he went on the airways to hightlight the unfairness. He says it cannot be right that a family with a single earner on £44k a year and a partner staying at home to look after the kids loses their child benefit while neighbours with both partners each earning £40k - a total income of £80k - KEEP their child benefit.

LibDem Susan Kramer dismissed suggestions of Coalition unfairness saying "That's the way the tax system works"!!

It's astonishing is how the lackey LibDems support scrapping the principle of universal benefits for children. They sold their principles for a taste of power...

Labour's Yvette Cooper hit the nail on the head when she said cutting child benefit for over a million families gives the lie to the ConDem's justification that deep cuts are needed now to protect the future generation.

The ConDems are making the next generation pay now.

I also heard London Tory MP Mark Field admit earlier today that the ConDems would have a political price to pay to cut child benefits. Her admitted that the £44k threshold would hit many 'ordinary' hard working families in the capital.

Even Tory Children's Minister Tim Loughton told Channel 4 News the move could be in need of more work.

He said: "If there are ways we can look at compensating measures for those genuinely in need, that will be looked at in future budgets."

But the prize for most entertaining piece of telly today has to go to Sky who broadcast Loughton desperately trying to escape the media spotlight who wanted to clarify his thoughts on a rethink.

Fast-trotting through Birming convention centre trailed by a media scrum, he didn't want to take the opportunity to explain what he meant.

Later, when the cameras caught up with him, Mr Loughton said:

I am very happy with the policy that George Osborne announced yesterday. It’s tough, it’s a difficult choice but it’s fair. End of. End of.

And to every other question, Mr Loughton replied: End of. End of.

Question: …does that imply you’re going to try and bring in measures to mitigate this?

Tory Minister: End of. End of.

Question: End of what?

Tory Minister: End of.

And that was the end of

Monday, October 04, 2010

Women and Children first for cuts...

The unfairness of detail in Tory cuts in child benefits shows that while the Conservatives claim to support the family, they haven't got a clue.

Despite promising to keep universal child benefit BEFORE the election, they've come up with a complete dog's breakfast to force families and children to pay for the deficit.

Under the plan announced today, if one parent earns over £44k a year and the other stops at home to raise the kids, the Tories will take all the child benefit away - over £30 a week if they have two kiddies.

But if they put the kids in day-care so and both go out to earn £43k each - a household income of £86k, under the Tory plan the family will keep all child benefits.

Crazy or just Conservative?

Tory heartlands 'pissed off' over latest cuts...?

The Tories are 'pi**ing off' the Conservatives core vote by cutting universal child benefit.

Not my words, but those of a Tory Minister, according to Channel 4's CutsCheck blog fronted by Cathy Newman.

She says CutsCheck is:

'...getting wind of a ministerial revolt over George Osborne’s announcement this afternoon.

One minister told me just now he had four emails from constituents complaining about it within an hour of the chancellor leaving the stage. He said: “We’re p***ing off our core vote.

We’re supposed to be the party of the hard-working family.” He went on to protest that the chancellor had sprung the decision on ministers, and that it appeared to have been hurriedly put together.

A cabinet minister has just told me the cut was a “complete bombshell” – he hadn’t been given any advance warning either....

Tune in to C4 at 7pm!!

UPDATE: Among those urging the ConDems not to make children pay off the deficit today was the Centre for Social Justice.

The think-tank' chief executive described the cuts announced today as a 'dirty' way of paying off the deficit and urged a re-think.

As the BBC reports, the Centre for Social Justice was founded by Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative's Welfare Minister!!

Swimmer on the run...?

More daft misuse of words from lazy journalists - this time by a BBC sports commentator at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli who should surely no better.

He's just broadcast on Radio4's PM programme that a particular swimmer was so fast that "she has stolen the medal - and I do mean stolen the medal".

How unsporting!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Tory Baroness backs off on allegations of voting fraud...

Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi came out all guns blazing against Labour this week, claiming that voting fraud had cost the Tories three seats at the general election.

But having achieved the headlines, under scrutiny she now appears to be backing off from her allegations.

I hope anyone who abuses our democracy by attempting to deceive voters is prosecuted. And I welcome the fact that some ex-members of the Labour Party - and incidentally, Liberal Democrats too - who were guilty of voting fraud have felt the long arm of the law.

But why Baroness Warsi's attempt to dilute her comments from earlier in the week...?

Could it be that someone has told her the facts: that the worst ever case of electoral fraud prosecuted in this country resulted in SIX guilty people going to prison - for their part in a scam to oust a former Labour Mayor and replace him, by...wait for, a Conservative!

Glasshouses and stones come to mind...

Tory MPs attack LibDems...

A Tory MP says she would 'rather die' than form an election pact with the LibDems - an idea recently floated by Nick Boles, the newly elected Conservative MP for Stamford and Grantham.

It seems Mr Boles' suggestion of the Tories getting even more familiar with their LibDem Coalition partners has gone down like a lead balloon among both Tory grandees - as well as rank and file members of both parties.

Meanwhile, I had to chuckle at Tory MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone was on the Politics Show at lunchtime attacking the LibDems, saying they couldn't be trusted.

Self-confessed right-winger Mr Bone generously said he thought he could trust Labour, but not the LibDems!

Well, with friends like Mr Bone (once dubbed the meannest boss in Britain - after bragging of the poverty wages he paid his staff), who needs enemies...?

Hack puts phone-hacking scandal back in the news...

An interview with a former News of the World journalist to be broadcast on C4's Despatches programme tomorrow night will put more the phone-hacking scandal back in the headlines.

Andy Coulson, now the Prime Minister's chief spin-doctor, resigned as editor of the NotW when one of his journalists went to prison for phone-hacking.

Coulson himself has always denied any knowledge of illegal activities when he was editor.

But The Guardian says that on C4 tomorrow, a senior journo who worked alongside Coulson will claim - albeit anonymously - that Coulson not only knew his reporters used intecepted voicemail messages, but that he was actually involved.

The journalist, said, like Coulson to be a former editor of the paper, claims when Couldon was told of intercepted voicemail messages of public figures, he demanded that he hear the tape or an email transcript to be sure they were authentic.

No doubt as Mr Cameron stands by his man, I'm sure he was hoping the phone-hacking scandal would go away - at least during the week of their Conference.

Not a chance.

It may be a slow-burner, but it seems this one will drip, drip and drip again for some time to come...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Roll up for your plants...

Plant sale and coffee at DSJ Church Hall this Saturday 10-1 to raise a few bob for next year's DSJ in Bloom effort...all welcome.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Let's hear Cameron's excuses...

New Labour Leader Ed Miliband today demonstrated the nonsense of The Tory Sun's 'Red Ed' label when he urged union leaders to call off a planned broadcast black-out of the Prime Minister's Conservative Conference speech next week.

Everyone should have the opportunity to hear Mr Cameron's words. We all need to know how he can justifies unfair cuts to make pensioners and the low-wage workers pay for the mistakes of the greedy bankers who sent us into world recession.

Catch the bald pot-bellied flasher...

Hope local police catch this offensive flasher quickly so other young girls in our village don't become victims of his abuse.

I remember my anger some 20 years ago when one of my daughters came home after a similar incident - and as a result was forced to explain things that little girls should not have to know.

On that occasion, Deepings police caught the offender.

I hope the latest offender is made to realise that his selfish cheap thrill could lead to long-term damage to innocent lives.

We must protect the innocence of children and allow them to grow up free from abuse.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heritage Walk today...

Looks like we have been blessed with good weather for today's Heritage Walk.

Meet at The Cross for a 2.30 start.

As chair of DSJ Parish Council I've been spammed to say a few words on the history of our unique monument...

A guided tour of Priory Church is next followed by a trek round the village featuring 'Hostelries of the Past' with John Bloomfield.

By which time I'll be ready for a pint in one of our hostelries of the present...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

ConDems dismantling NHS...

So, the Tories have let slip their secret plans to scrap the professional, much-respected NHS Direct Service.

So when you phone NHS Direct in future, you are unlikely to get a trained nurse responding, but a call centre operative instead.

It's another of Cameron's pre-election promises broken and threatens to reverse the achievements of the past few years in reducing waiting times at Accident and Emergency departments.

The Tory determination to cut the NHS is not so surprising given their record - they fought tooth and nail to prevent Labour creating a National Health Service for all in the first place - then starved it of cash and almost destroyed it in the Thatcher era.

What I find surprising is the apparent willingness of Nick Clegg and the LibDems to roll over, dump any pretence of principles, and campaign for the Tory agenda to cut public services under a thinly disguised veil of 'cutting the deficit'.

Of course we need to cut waste where it can be identified and improve services, but the ConDem Coalition has no mandate to cut the NHS itself.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tories take revenge by scrapping Audit Commission...

The Tories have finally taken their revenge on the Audit Commission which played a key role in uncovering scandals such as the criminal ways of Jim 'Jailbird' Speechley in running Lincolnshire County Council - and of course illegal gerrymandering by Shirley 'homes for votes' Porter.

Staff at the Commission, told by email today that the ConDem Government was scrapping the Audit Commission, leaving no national body to step in when there's a major failing in a local council by politicians of any persuasion - whether right here in Lincolnshire, or anywhere else in the country.

Tory says she'll fight the ConDem playground cuts...

A senior Tory on Peterborough City Council says she'll fight playground cuts announced yesterday by a Tory Government Minister.

Fifteen childrens play areas in Peterborough have already benefitted from Labour's Playbuilder programme - each getting £50,000 from the Government. But yesterday, Tory Minister Michael Gove took the decision to order Peterborough City Council - and 131 other council across the country - to stop all work.

In tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Sheila Scott, the Tory councillor responsible for childrens services in the city said the news was 'very disappointing' and went on:

“I will be doing everything I can to get the appropriate people to change their minds about this funding.

“We know these are very difficult financial times but children are our future and we need to protect that.”

I'm sure her Tory colleagues will be reminding Sheila that 'we're all in this together and children shouldn't be exempt...'

But the truth is, she's absolutely right and I wish her the best of luck in persuading the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at Westminster to stop the daft cuts.

I hope that the first step in Sheila's campaign is to let the ET know where all the affected playgrounds in the city are located - information apparently so far denied to them.

The ET also highlight the positive difference parks built under Labour's Playbuilder scheme are already having. In Werrington, anti-social behaviour has been cut.

And in Peanut Park, Orton Goldhay, which was provided in partnership with Cross Keys Homes, who matched the Government grant, the ET reports that the community came together to design the park which is now making 'a tremendous difference' to the area’s children.

The ConDems talk about building 'the big society' but it seems to me their actions are destroying it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Deepings Rafts for Heroes...

Congrats to organisers of the weekend's Deepings Raft Race for providing another great Deepings day out for thousands, helped put our community on the map, and raised a decent wodge of cash for a hugely worthy cause - Help for Heroes which supports wounded soldiers, sailors and airmen (and women) returning from fighting for our country in Afghanistan.

Why 'Every Child Matters' should be banned...

As a former county councillor, I know what a huge and positive difference the previous Government's 'Every Child Matters' programme made to transform and modernise childrens' services, not only here in Lincolnshire, but across the entire country.

But it seems the ConDems are so rattled by the success of 'Every Child Matters', that they want to ban its very name.

Isn't there something deeply worrying - and rather Stalinist - about Tory Ministers who moaned endlessly about political correctness and spin prior to the General Election, but now spending their time writing pointless edicts to ban phrases they don't like.

Isn't it even more worrying when you learn the author is Michael Gove, the man who scrapped 700 school buildings projects - and had to issue FIVE lists because he kept getting his facts wrong?

Would it be churlish of me to suggest that his time would be better spent concentrating on getting his facts right, rather than on spin and political correctness...?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Rab C Nesbitt star's posh South Lincs pad...

The actor behind Scots layabout Rab C. Nesbitt has put his Spalding home up for sale - for close on three-quarters of a million pounds.

That should keep him in string vests for a while...

Friday, July 30, 2010

ConDem Cuts will damage development in our region

Good letter in the Stamford Mercury condemning the ConDem Government's dogma-driven decision to scrap the East Midlands Development Agency...

LibDem Ministers fear ConDem coalition could kill party...

The penny has finally dropped on the LibDums who sold their principles for power. Seems some of Nick Clegg's band are warning that the Liberal Democrat party could be destroyed if the public believe they are being used to front the Tory plan to slash public services under the guise of cutting the deficit.

What took them so long to realise what was plain to see from the start...?

Today's Indy splashes on the story.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tory MEP suggests Con-Lab pact to stop LibDem 'zealotry'...

Right-wing Tory Euro-MP for the East Midlands Roger Helmer today suggests a Labour-Tory pact to stop the 'ideological nonsense' of 'LibDem zealots'...

Writing on Conservative Home, this morning, Helmer attacks Chris Huhne - the LibDem who is now Energy Secretary in the Coalition Government for promoting more wind-power rather than supporting a 21st century generation of nuclear power stations.

Citing the phrase 'criminally insane', Helmer believes Huhne is wrong to insist that not a penny of public money should be invested in a new generation of nuclear power to solve the impending energy crisis as the existing capacity is switched off at the end of its working life.

As a LibDem MEP in the not too distant past, pro-Euro Mr Huhne has no doubt clashed many times before with Euro-sceptic Mr Helmer who, by his own admission, 'hates' the European Union - probably more than he hates windfarms...

The fragile coalition demonstrates, modern politics makes for strange bed-fellows.

To use Helmer's description, Huhne as Energy Secretary in a Cameron Government may indeed be 'bizarre'...

But probably not quite as bizarre as Labour forming a pact with the likes of Mr Helmer...!

Friday, July 23, 2010

ConDems say public should fund prison parties...

ConDem Government Minister says the public purse must pay for prison parties - and described Labour's veto of them as "daft"...

The Daily Mail splashes on the story which they say undermines the Tory claim of being the party of law and order. And they have a particularly salacious picture of the sort of thing the Tories was the public to fund...

We always knew the LibDems were soft on crime. Now it seems they are influencing their Conservative bedfellows in a less than savoury manner!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Government cancels childrens' play equipment...

Our local paper, the Stamford Mercury, reports that the Government is refusing to hand over a grant apparently already agreed for childrens' play equipment.

I wonder if Alan Duncan, the children's MP, and a member of the ConDems, will be explaining to them that "we're all in this together"...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Will Deepings school project escape the ConDem axe...?

Hopes are high that investment to revamp Deepings School will escape the Con-Dem Government axe.

Last month, you may recall, the Con-Dem axe scrapped 719 school building projects across the country, including millions of pounds to rebuild schools here in South Lincs.

So far, the Deepings project has avoided the Con-Dems devastating cuts - which hits the building industry as well as hopes of children, teachers and parents!

The Deepings project will make a huge difference to our local school and cost just £1.5 million - small beer compared to the £55 Billion investment in schools scrapped when the Con-Dems tore up Labour's Building Schools for the Future plan to modernise secondary schools.

But after Michael Gove's gaffe-ridden flip-flop performance in being forced to release no fewer than five official lists of where his axe will fall, we'll all be on tenter-hooks until building is underway.

Monday, July 19, 2010

With friends like that...

Not every Conservative MP is as enthusiastic about the ConDem coalition as the leadership of both parties would like us to believe.

Here's how one Conservative MP publicises the dangers of Vince, Nick and their gang...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jobless should seek joy in flower arranging says our MP...!

I missed this gem from the Daily Mail last month, as it was published on the first day of my holiday...but I hope you agree it is worthy of a wider audience...

An MP suggests that those thrown onto the dole should seek joy in er, flower arranging!

Not just any MP, but John Hayes, who, as well as being Conservative MP for my patch -is also now a Minister for Education in the ConDem Government.

John seems to have largely got away with what some might consider an insulting gaffe from a Minister whose Government is presiding over damaging cuts likely to throw hundreds of thousands on the dole.

One can only imagine the furore if a Labour Minister ever made such comments!

Friday, July 09, 2010

We save our phone box!

Well done to my fellow parish councillors Judy Stevens and Chris Pearce - and children from our local school - to save our traditional phone kiosk and give it a new lease of life...

See report and photos in tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We're all in this together...

No wonder the Tory Leader of a city council didn't want voters to know where she was when workers were being sacked to save taxpayers money...she was in South Africa watching the World Cup as part of a £5,000 junket paid for by the same generous taxpayers...!

Same old Tories eh?

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Tory MP supports making museum history...

The Tory adviser who has become MP for the historic town of Stamford fails to support the campaign to prevent closure of the local museum in the next round of cash-cuts proposed by his mates on Conservative-run Lincolnshire County Council...

I can't help contrasting Labour's achievement of boosting attendance at museums and art galleries by making public access free of charge - and the Conservative plan to shut them down!

UPDATE: Lincolnshire County Council says Stamford is the 'finest stone town in England' and has a promo on its own website extolling the educational opportunities at the museum they are proposing to shut down.

Another teenager killed on local roads...

Shocked to hear tonight that Deepings Comprehensive School has been rocked by yet another road tragedy. A teenage girl was killed yesterday lunchtime when the car she was in flipped over near Maxey roundabout on the A15 road to Peterborough.

I understand she was in a car with friends following completion of a GCE exam at Deeping School earlier in the day.

From memory, I believe that's four Deeping students killed on local roads in as many years.

Thoughts are with the family and with head teacher Chris Beckett and all thosen at the school.

UPDATE: Tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph on the tragedy.

UPDATE 2: Spalding Guardian has named the girl who was killed in the crash - and reports that a male driver has been arrested on suspion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Local schools cuts hit those who need most help...

Jobs are being axed at a south Lincs school which says Tory-run Lincolnshire County Council has cut funds for children with additional needs.

Sad to see that jobs of seven teaching assistants and two support staff are being scrapped at Robert Manning in Bourne - a first-rate school which produces excellent results - despite seeing the most academically gifted youngsters creamed off by Bourne Grammar School.

Bourne Grammar of course also produces some impressive results too!!

But has anyone heard of cuts at Bourne Grammar...?

Watch this space....!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Record-breaking Swimming Club deserves our support...

Hats off to a trio of Deepings youngsters who have been breaking records in the swimming pool.

And hats off to their coaches at Deepings Swimming Club, who have a long record of achieving fantastic results - against all the odds.

Last time I checked, South Kesteven District Council were charging our thriving swimming club over £30,000 a year to use the pool.

In my view, our swimming club provides a fantastic service in investing in our young people that is vastly under-valued by Grantham-based South Kesteven District Council.

Isn't it seriously crazy that the main activity of our local swimming club is not swimming at all - but fundraising merely to get youngsters pool-side.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

catching up...

Back from the General Election campaign, good to be home in DSJ, trying to catch up on lost sleep, but fascinated to watch the horse-trading not seen since 1974...more later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tory cuts hit Lincs families who need most help...

Families in Lincolnshire caring for children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus have been dealt a devastating blow by local Conservatives.

The Tories who run Lincolnshire County Council have decided to axe funding the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

Next week the group, which supports 155 people and their families in Lincolnshire, will lose its £17,000 annual grant.

In the scheme of things, and given LCC's whopping budget, £17k does not sound like a lot of money to provide support to 155 families. It's a little over £100 per family. No doubt the costs of a local authority social worker offering similar support would be considerably more than that.

Having served as a county councillor for eight years until last year, I could certainly suggest a few more effective ways of saving a few bob of taxpayers money...

Why is it that those who need our help most always seem to suffer first when it comes to 'efficiency savings'...?

In any case, as this letter from the Association in the Stamford Mercury suggests, the cost-cutting may be a false economy. In the end it will be social services who have to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong for the families helped by the Association...

By his own admission, David Cameron is desperate to start taking an axe to public spending, promising, in his own words, an age of austerityif he gets the keys to Downing Street.

Pulling the plug on vital public services that millions of people rely on would, in my view, damage our social fabric. It seems a bit rich trying to get elected by telling us (wrongly!) that Britain is Broken, and at the same time planning to slash public services.

Cameron's axe would also put the fragile economic recovery of our nation at risk as we come out of the worst world downturn in half a century.

Sadly, 155 families in Lincolnshire are getting an early taste of what life under a Conservative Government would be like for millions.

Same Old Nasty Tories eh?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brave Hykeham lad awarded George Medal...

The exceptional bravery of our troops in Afghanistan is brought home by the posthumous award of the George Medal to a lad who went to the same school as me in North Hykeham near Lincoln.

Captain Daniel Shepherd was killed last summer attempting to defuse 13 Taliban bombs in 36 hours, and honoured with a full military funeral at Lincoln Cathedral. On Friday, Captain Shepherd was awarded the George Medal.

I see from the press coverage that, like me, he went to All Saints Primary School, Moor Lane, North Hykeham.

Even though I never knew Captain Shepherd, the fact that we went to the same primary school perhaps three decades apart, makes it hard not to feel a connection, however tenuous.

And I can't help wondering if, 20 years ago, young Dan might have been a cub in one of my late Mum's packs in North Hykeham, or perhaps sailed one of the dinghys donated to Hykeham scouts by my late Dad...

Anyway, this is the Ministry of Defence tribute to Captain Shepherd when he died last year

At the time of his death, family members left heart-breaking tributes to Dan on the Lincolnshire Echo site.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Have you spotted the white blackbird...?

Not seen in my garden yet, but this resident of Deeping St James was given a mention on national 5Live radio the other day - and the Peterborough ET has a photo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cameron throws red meat to his Tory Euro-sceptics...

Good to see the ugly face of David Cameron's Conservatives finally getting some exposure.

This week our local Euro-MP Glenis Willmott is rightly questioning why Cameron's Conservatives have allied themselves with a right-wing - some would say extremist - organisation.

The Conservative Leader wants us to believe he has the judgement to lead our country - but he can't see a problem getting into bed with a right-wing party which takes part in controversial marches said to celebrate the wartime Latvian SS.

I would have thought the very name Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party would have set alarm bells ringing with David Cameron who wants us to believe he has the judgement necessary to lead our country...

But David - or do we have to call him 'Dave' now - clearly did a deal with the unsavoury right-wing Euro-sceptics in his Party when he became Tory Leader.

Just about the only promise Cameron has kept is to abandon the British Conservatives long-held links with the moderate European Peoples Party, and join a new rag-bag coalition of right wing nutters - including the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party, amongst others.

By abandoning the EPP - the party of Sarkozy and Merkle, the UK Conservatives are isolated in Europe. Given the chance, they would isolate Britain in Europe.

You don't have to take my word. Ask life-long Conservative MEP Edward McMillan Scott who defected to the LibDems at the weekend.

McMillan-Scott put it in his own words in a telling article in The Observer in which he describes the Conservatives under David Cameron as not a nice party.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Railway Days and Mondays...

Railway Days and Mondays always get me down...

Early train to London this morning wasn't. It was half an hour late 'due to an earlier breakdown'.

And the homeward bound train is now also running late 'due to earlier congestion in the St Neots area'...


That's a new one on me after 30 years of travelling this route.

I suppose it's better than the alltime classic excuse of a few years ago - the wrong kind of leaves...!

Disabled driver's victory over 'unfair' Tory charges

A Lincoln man has won a major victory against the Conservative-run city council winning a review of a new charging regime which he claims charges disabled drivers more than able-bodied motorists...

Guess who pays for Tory cuts...?

Yep, it's those who can least afford it who pay the biggest price when the Tory axe strikes.

If you run a car, you probably won't even notice that Conservative-run Peterborough City Council are cutting bus services.

So what happened to the Tory's 'go-green, vote-blue' campaign in which David Cameron tried to persuade us the Conservatives were no longer the 'nasty' party?

Remember salesman Dave's media stunts attempting to persuade us that voting 'blue' would deliver 'green' policies?

There was his infamous bicycle ride - with a chaffeur driven car following behind to carry his polished shoes and briefcase...

And let's not forget how 'green' Dave arrived in the Arctic for a 'save the earth' photo-stunt with husky dogs - by jet airliner...

What a phoney...

It's the same old Tories.

Don't say you weren't warned!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hornby railways strikes again...

Chaos to start the week at Peterborough Rail Station. I've been here nearly an hour and no sign of any mainline service south to London "due to over-running engineering works in the Hitchin area".

Doubly annoyed to see professionally printed giant notices at the barrier warning of severe delays znd cancellations this morning.

If they can get notices printed, surely they could get an announcement on BBC Cambridgeshire's news bulletins earlier to warn the thousands who commute from Peterborough to London to make other arrangements and avoid a long cold frustrating wait.

Eventually, a First Capital Connect train arrives which seems to be stoping at every lamp-post between here and Kings Cross. Staff tell me there's a fast East Coast train five minutes later, so stupidly believe them.

Another half an hour has gone by and still no sign of a mainline train.

Hornby was better organised than this!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teenager fights Tory cuts...

Good to see a 16-year-old campaigning against Tory cuts to local bus routes.

Who says 'Britain is Broken'..?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Conservatives caught inflating teenage ten times!

David Cameron and the Conservatives never let the facts get in the way of their agenda of talking Britain down.

They seem to have learned nothing from last week's official rap on the knuckles after they falsely claimedviolent crime was rising.

This time they're guilty of an absolute howler, wrongly claiming that in some deprived areas of the country, more than half of all teenage girls get pregnant.

It's total Tory tosh of course.

They are so determined to talk Britain down as part of their "Britain is Broken" bollox that they've inflated the pregnancy figures by TEN times.

The truth is teenage pregnancy rates have actually fallen since 1997, not risen.

Fit to run the country...?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tories airbrush out Cameron...

David Cameron, widely ridiculed after his image was airbrushed in the last Tory poster has gone one step further for the next...he's been totally airbrushed out according to the Daily Torygraph

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Cameron candidate who quit, attacks party 'dinosaurs' and says she'll stand after all...

One of David Cameron's so-called 'A' list candidates who dramatically threw in the towel last night now says she will stand after all - just 24 hours after resigning and accusing some in her Party of being 'dinosaurs'...

Who can she be talking about...?

Seems Eric Pickles, the rotund Party chairman turned up at a meeting of Westminster North Constituency Conservatives last night in an attempt to close-down bitter in-fighting in the Party.

After working his magic, Mr Pickles had managed to inflame the situation so much that he managed to leave with the resignation of the wife of the unlikely named Octavius Black, one his Eton pals?

David Cameron was no doubt less than chuffed with Mr Pickles, and was apparently busy making phone calls to repair the damage today.

He reportedly originally foisted the partner of the said Octavius onto Westminster North Tories, causing bad blood among Westminster Tories.

The London Standard says the Tories have been scrambling today to rescue her political career after it descended into chaos.

As Tories squabbled, no doubt the very able Karen Buck, Labour's MP for the area, was quietly getting on with the important work of representing the people of Westminster North.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Tory councillors, brunette, hypnotic love...and the police...

Reluctant to intrude on personal grief, but couldn't resist sharing the Romford Recorder's big story this week of a Tory love triangle which went wrong, sparking a police investigation.

This should have the Conservative followers in Romford and Havering choking on their cornflakes...(specially if they read it in the News of the World on Sunday!).

Guess who's sick of Cameron's spin and smiles...?

Who's sick of 'happy chappy Dave' leading the Conservative Party with 'all this PR stuff, smiling at everyone and saying everything people want to hear...'

Former Tory Minister David Mellor, that's who!

Mellor was asked on BBC's 'This Week' programme whether he thought David Cameron 'had it in him' to lead our country.

His revealing reply: 'I don't know.'

Hardly a resounding vote of confidence.

The fact that even a former Conservative Minister can see through Cameron's spin and doesn't know what his party stands for anymore, surely demonstrates that Cameron's Conservatives are not fit to govern Britain.

David Mellor went on:'The issue for David Cameron's Conservatives is, do the Tories stand for anything that the public is going to get excited about...'

He said that under Cameron's 'leadership' voters 'don't really know what the Tories are all about.'

I hope he's wrong and that voters know precisely what the Tories are all about..

You only have to listen to David Cameron and Boy George Osborne to understand what:

1. They are about the same as they were when Mellor was a Government Minister.

2. They are about imposing immediate damaging cuts to vital public services that would pull the rug from under the fragile economic recovery.

3. They are about bringing back the cruel 'sport' of ripping foxes apart with packs of dogs.

4. They are about giving a tax-break to the richest few estates in the country while cutting Child Tax Credits for the many and slashing funding for the network of SureStart Childrens Centres built by Labour!

5. And yes, Mr Mellor, Cameron's Tories are about all this PR stuff, smiling at everyone and saying anything people want to hear.

Who will forget the pictures of Dave riding his bike to work to demonstrate his 'green' credentials, while his chauffeur follows behind in the limo!

Same old Tories, eh?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Stats Authority slams Conservative Crime Con...

Sky News reporting that the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority has officially rebuked Cameron's Conservatives over their scaremongering tactics over violent crime (as I posted HERE.

In a letter sent to David Cameron, the UK Stats Authority says the Tory attempt to show violent crime had risen is misleading and a misuse of statistics.

The UK Stats Authority questions why the Tories did not use the well respected British Crime Survey figures.

The answer of course is obvious...

Because the independent BCS shows that violent crime has in fact HALVED in recent years.

The Tory fox is now well and truly shot.

So no more 'Broken Britain' bollox Mr Cameron.

UPDATE: How The Times is reporting the story.

UPDATE 2: The BBC's Mark Easton gives his take on the rebuke for the Tories and says the Stats Authority takes issue with the claims Chris Grayling made on the Tpoday programme yesterday.

Watch this space for the Tory apology. But don't hold your breath!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

BBC says Tories 'shopped' on crime con...

Delighted to hear the Conservative con on violent crime figures exposed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning.

As I posted last week HERE, David Cameron's 'Broken Britain' campaign relies heavily on them being able to prove violent crime is rising...when he knows that in fact the reverse is the truth.

This morning, the BBC put Mark Easton - their journalist who first publicised the Tory con - head to head with Cameron's spokesman on crime, Chris Grayling.

Grayling had sent out spurious statistics to local Conservative parties across the country encouraging them to claim violent crime had risen since 1997.

Mark Easton explained that the Tories had ignored official clear warnings that the figures they were sending out could not be compared due to major improvements in recording violent crime.

The Conservative spokesman tried to move the debate onto his promise to make collection of crime figures independent of Government.

Mark Easton point out that the British Crime Survey, which has been around for 30 years, IS independent of Government and shows that in recnet years violent crime has been halved - down a full 50 per cent.

The Today presented challenged Mr Grayling: "Now that you have been shopped, will you send out a note to local Conservative parties instructing them not to use these figures...?"

No, of course not.

If they did that, the entire 'Britain is Broken' scare-mongering would be shown for what it is - a Tory con.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Redwood lets Cameron's cuts cat out of the bag...

Senior Tory MP John Redwood has let the Cameron cat out of the bag by predicting even more swingeing cuts than the Conservative Leader admits he is planning.

Yesterday, Tory treasury spokesman Philip Hammond admitted that the Tories were planning cuts to public services of £1.5 BILLION this year.

This was after David Cameron, clearly rattled by polls which showed Labour closing the gap, started pretending that early Tory cuts would not be as massive as he had earlier indicated.

Today, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made it clear that cutting the deficit this year - as the Tories are determined to do - would choke off the economic recovery and plunge the economy into a 'double dip' recession.

Cutting the deficit this year would see more businesses going under, repossessions and job losses.

Tonight, John Redwood was asked on Sky News if £1.5 BILLION in cuts in 2010 was about right.this year.

Redwood's response: 'Oh I think it will be more than that...'‏

Friday, January 29, 2010

Now Chilcot gets the blame...

Channel 4 trailing their seven o'clock news tonight with the (bad) taster '...did the Chilcott inquisitors finally prove they are not up to the job?'

They are disappointed of course that a distinguished Iraq War inquiry panel apparently failed to land a finger on Tony Blair in his six? hours of evidence.

From what I saw, Blair showed today what I've always believed: he's not a liar and made a difficult decision based on the facts presented to him - a decision backed by the first-ever vote in the House of Commons to send British fighting troops.

Wouldn't be surprised to hear calls for ANOTHER enquiry into the Iraq war, even before Chilcott reports. And then another one after that if the next one doesn't come up with the answers some people and some media seem to demand.

Seems to me there's been more official enquiries and more public scrutiny of the decision to take on the evil murdering tyrant Saddam Hussain - who used WMD on his own people - than any other conflict in history

That includes two world wars and, incidentally, the 1980s Falklands War, which I recall happened after Margaret Thatcher sold off our ice-ships and gave the Argentinians all the signals that we'd take no action to defend the Falklands - in contrast to a few years earlier when then Labour PM Jim Callaghan sent a much tougher signal to warn off General Galtieri...

UPDATE: The 2010 Question: Tony Blair put his decision to deal with Saddam Hussain in 2003 in clear perspective today when he suggested his critics should think about the 2010 question rather than the 2003 question...

What do you think the monster Saddam Hussain would be doing today if Tony Blair had lost his nerve and not taken the action he did?

Relief for cancer patients with £3m cash injection...

Welcome news for local cancer patients and their loved ones, thanks to a £3 million cash injection at Peterborough Hospitals that will end the need for lengthy regular journeys to Addenbroookes in Cambridge.

Another example of how Labour's massive investment is transforming our NHS services - despite Tories claims that things haven't got better...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More on Cameron's crime con...

Good to see the Mirror picking up Cameron's dodgy claim that crime is rising - when the opposite is in fact true.

The Conservative 'Britain is Broken' scare campaign relies heavily on ramping up people's fear of crime - and they can only do that by telling massive porkies.

As I posted on Monday, the entire 'Britain is Broken' nonsense unravels under any degree of independent scrutiny.

It's another Cameron Con.

Monday, January 25, 2010

BBC unpicks Cameron's claim of 'Broken Britain'

Glad to see I wasn't alone in raising an eyebrow at David Cameron exploiting the horrific Edlington torture case last week.

Today, the BBC's Mark Easton questions how honest Cameron is being on his claims.

Read and make your own judgement who's telling porkies...

Same old Tories, eh?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cutting SureStart is not the answer Mr Cameron...

If David Cameron really believes 'Britain is Broken', why would he cut one in five of the amazing SureStart Childrens Centres opened by Labour over the past ten years which now give hundreds of thousands of children a better start in life?

Despite Conservative attempts to exploit the horrific Edlington case, it is - thank goodness - extremely rare for nine-year-olds to be assaulted by their father with a golf club, grow up watching extreme violence, mutilation, pornography, see their mother beaten by their drunken father and threaten to slash her face, experience illegal drugs...

Lincolnshire benefits from three dozen of the 3,500 SureStart's delivered across the whole country by Labour over the past decade - including one here in The Deepings.

Cameron's cuts to vital public services like SureStart - and fewer police - would damage society, not make it better.

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's the most depressing day of the year, so cheer up!

The Carpenters hit seemed to sum it all up with: 'Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down'.

Well, it's raining, it's Monday, and according to tonight's Lincolnshire Echo today is a special day in the calendar...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

BNP's Politics of Hate and Extremism

Three news stories this weekend demonstrate all you need to know about the racial hatred constantly stirred up by the extremist so-called 'British' National Party.


BNP Leader Nick Griffin has described British Government aid to the victims of the terrible Haiti earthquake as stinking elite hypocrisy, alleging that the British winter will claim more lives and 'there is no aid here'.

The truth is after 12 years of Labour Government, there is far more assistance than ever before for the most vulnerable in our society. For example, decent pensions, vastly increased winter fuel allowances and automatic cold weather payments to help pensioners keep the heating on when temperatures of zero or below are forecast for a week or more.

Good to see East Midlands MEP Glenis Willmott - Leader of the Labour Group in the EU - instantly rebutting and rubbishing Griffin's outburst.

There is nothing British about Griffin's odious response to the Haiti disaster - and the screams of dying victims - in one of the most impoverished nations on earth.

I'm certain that the generosity of the British people will shine through, reflect the aid already pledged to Haiti by the British Government, and show how non-British and out-of- touch with the British people Griffin really is.


Newly released crime figures demonstrate that reports of racial and religious hate crime rise wherever the BNP gets elected.


A racist ex-BNP nutter was jailed for 11 years for turning his bedroom into a bomb factory.

Here in Lincolnshire, I believe a Boston Borough councillor is the only member of the BNP to be elected.

IMHO, that's one too many.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nightmare trek ends bad week for East Coast Main Line...

The week started snow bad for East Coast Main Line (and its ‘customers’), with trains that never were. But as the freeze appeared to thaw, my experience was that Peterborough-Kings Cross train ‘service’ became worse rather than better.

My week has just been rounded off with a truly nightmare trek home on one of the most overcrowded trains I’ve had the misfortune to be packed onto in over 30 years of full and part-time commuting.

I expected this evening’s rush-hour tube hops on the Circle, then Victoria lines to be the usual squeeze. And they were.

I was daft enough to look forward to a little more space for the 90-odd mile - and rather more expensive - journey to Peterborough.

But no. As the train crawled out of Kings Cross, every carriage had people standing in the aisles. I was forced to squeeze into the tiny vestibule between two carriages which I shared for the duration with enough bodies to make two full football teams, complete with a compliment of subs (...if only there were a subs bench!)

To add insult to injury, the guard was soon picking his way through us sardines, demanding to see all tickets, no doubt to make sure no-one was daring to travel on a ‘cheap’ ticket.

I was so tightly wedged between a door and three fellow travellers, I would have had real difficulty getting my hand in my jacket to extract my ticket and told the guard so. I added that given the state of Third World overcrowding on the train he was responsible for, I thought he had a bloody cheek worrying about tickets.

He clearly realised that even if I could retrieve my ticket, he would struggle to get near enough to check or clip it. So he sensibly suggested that I keep my ticket in my pocket and he moved on!

With the guard in full retreat, I shared my frustration with the rest of the Coach B Vestibule first team, explaining that my £87 ticket had bought me a cancelled train on my outward journey this morning and now, no seat on my return journey, not even space to stand in relative comfort.

He too had been delayed by a train that never was this morning and were we clearly in the same er, boat? heading north. Then he produced his Leeds-London ticket which had cost him a staggering £224...

Our conversation was interrupted by the worst moment of the ordeal was when the East Coast’s ‘at seat’ (er, what seat?) drinks and snacks trolley (aka a surefire cash cow within a cash cow) was forced through the vestibule on its relentless drive, sending us sardines falling over each other to avoid a broken leg.

Talking of legs, I’m just starting to get the circulation back in mine. My back will take a little longer to recover.

What an absolute disgrace.

Back to Normal: Trains cancelled!

A broken line at Newark caused long delays Chaos on the East Coast Main Line yesterday, but this morning's Peterborough Evening Telegraph quotes an official reassuring us that it was quickly fixed and the service was 'back to normal'*

What he failed to say was the service was already on a 'revised time-table' due to the 'adverse weather conditions'.

And that means cancelled trains and long delays.

The official went on to hint that the broken line was no big deal as East Coast has lots of experience in dealing with long delays!

When I heard about yesterday's problems, I checked East Coast's website where there is notice of the 'revised timetable due to adverse weather' with a referral to another page for train times.

But up to midnight last night, that page was a blank!

This morning a list of affected services appears...and if you know where your train originates, you might get a clue whether it's running to time, running at all, or cancelled.

All too late to help me, as I was already at the station waiting for the 8.33 which never came!

* Sorry no link, the PET story is not on line yet - wonder if the adverse weather conditions are to blame?

Monday, January 11, 2010

And holding our 'local' council to account

Trying to get home to Deeping in time for a public meeting at the Community Centre where I hope we can hold our 'local' district council to account...

I want to ask South Kesteven District Council why they pulled the rug from under the extremely popular summer playscheme this year, which they have traditionally part funded. And more importantly, persuade them it's worth backing this year.

My own daughters enjoyed the playscheme when they were young so I know personally how valued the scheme is - even though it was almost a quarter of a century ago. Since then the playscheme has gone from strength to strength - despite a blip a few years ago when red tape almost strangled it.

Fortunately, it survived and SKDC continued to see its value by sharing the costs with our very own DSJ Parish Council and Market Deeping Town Council.

But last year SKDC changed their priorities and said they would concentrate on helping teenagers rather than younger kids.

They published a series of glossy leaflets and a programme of activities.

But guess what?

Nothing for the Deepings!

Fortunately, DSJ and MD councils stumped up the missing cash to make sure hundreds of youngsters and their parents were not disappointed and the playscheme had a bumper year at DSJ Primary School.

Now we're hoping those we elect to serve us as the Grantham based SKDC will do the decent thing in the coming summer and give the Deepings a fair deal!

I got stuck on the tube on my way home tonight, but fortunately, my parish council colleague, Judy 'the Rotweiller' Stevens will be at the Community Centre, so I know our voice will be heard loud and clear!

Blog of the day...

Holding Boris to account on his dodgy 'achievements'...

Nice one Adam.

The train that never existed...

Bad start to the week on East Coast trains.

Arrive at Peterborough station at 8.10. Plenty of time to get my ticket and catch the London-bound 8.33.

No worries. Wait patiently on the south-bound Platform 2.

The announcer tells us the next train on Platform 2 is the 8.33...


But then he adds that it's going to Lincoln.

Not so reassuring.

No mention of my King's Cross 'service'.

So where's my train?

One of the three ticket stampers at the barrier at first denies any knowledge of such a train as the 8.33 to London.

He produces a sheaf of papers which is apparently his print-out of the timetable.

"There is no 8.33 to London," he confidently declares.

"So it's cancelled?" ask irritated commuters.

"Not cancelled," he insists. "As I have already told you, there is no 8.33 to London. We have an 8.33 to Lincoln..."

When other commuters point out to Jobsworth that they've been catching the 8.33 to London for years, he offers: "Ah, yes sir, but we're operating a revised timetable today and as I say, there is no 8.33 to London."

He then causes more grief with his warning that the next East Coast 'express' will be 'exceedingly overcrowded'.

He advises catching the next First Capital Connect train instead.

But he doesn't mention that this is a 'slow' service which stops at every lamp-post including Huntingdon, St Neots, Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey, Hitchin, Stevenage, and Finsbury Park...

Of course, no mention of cancellations earlier when I parted with my £87 for a ticket...And no mention that the next 'express' to London that actually did exist would arrive late into Peterborough...

But of course, when you operate a 'revised' timetable, and don't tell the paying customers, there are no delays or cancellations...

So, not the four hour marathons twice experienced trekking to London in last week's snow, but every bit as frustrating!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wolfie is World Champ Again...

Deeping St James darts star Martin Wolfie Adams has done it. He's World Champ for the second time.

Well done Wolfie...he's just picked up a cheque for £100,000 for his trouble...

Hope he shares it with his wife Sharron who had to watch Wolfie's edge of the seat match. At least she didn't lock herself in the loo at the crucial moment like she did last time Martin was on the verge of becoming World Champion!!

UPDATE: Market Deeping blogger Roy Dennis has pointed out that in fact Wolfie collected £103,000.

My mistake. He was paid an extra £3k for scoring an impressive 170 on a three dart finish in the final. Thanks for putting me right Roy!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Wolfie in the final....

Deeping St James darts supremo Martin 'Wolfie' Adams has just thrown his way into the final of the World Darts Championship.

'Wolfie' who was 2007 world darts champ quickly went 5-1 up against Welsh wizard Martin Phillips.

But then 'Wolfie' had us on the edge our the sofa as he allowed Phillips to come back to 5-4 before finally closing out the match 6-4.

Final is tomoorow on BBC TV starting at 5.45pm.


UPDATE: Wolfie streaks ahead against young Dave Chisnall, but then makes it difficuilt for himself by allowing Chisnall to close it to 6-5...

He's only a couple of chucks away from being world chamnp for the second time...fingers and everything else crossed...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cameron's Canute Conservatives

Astonishing to hear the Prime Minister today being urged from the Conservative benches to scrap Governmment investment in alternative off-shore energy sources.

So now Cameron's Conservatives are campaigning to stop off-shore energy farms, as well as those on-shore too.

Come back King Canute!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

Back the Ban on Barbaric Hunting with Dogs

David Cameron's priority - apart from giving a tax break to a few millionaires by cutting inheritance tax for the country's richest estates - is now bringing back hunting.

I would have thought there were much more important issues to deal with to secure the recovery following recession.

Same old Tories, eh.

Chief Exec takes action at Tory-led Council

More fall-out at the Lincolnshire council where the Conservative Leader facing questions over planning was forced to resign last month.

The Chief Executive of West Lindsey District Council has now reported a number of elected members to the Standards Board apparently over their actions following the suspension of a planning officer.

It's not clear from the report in the Market Rasen Mail which councillors have been named.

Bernard Theobald stepped down as Leader of the Council a month ago following allegations concerning a planning application to develop a site which he jointly owns with another Conservative councillor.

Cllr Theobald was a member of 'Honest' Jim Speechley's Conservative Group on Lincolnshire Council before Mr Speechley was jailed...for abuse of planning procedures.

Cllr Theobald failed in an attempt to take over the Leadership of Lincolnshire County Council in the aftermath of the Speechley affair and lost his seat at the next local elections.

He went on to become Leader of West Lindsey District Council.

I wish to make it clear that Cllr Theobald claims he has done nothing wrong and has resigned to clear his name.

I wish him the best of luck.

Public support for wind power is blow for Tory protest...

More than three in four people favour wind turbines - even if they are near their own homes, according to a survey published in this week's Lincolnshire Free Press.

The survey seems to show that Conservative local councils who turn down planning applications for windfarms on principle are out of touch with local opinion.

Personally, I always suspected that the Conservative Party's objections to wind turbines - as voiced by John Hayes, our right-wing MP for South Holland and Deepings - were hot air...

Vote Labour or the fox gets it...!

In a quote for our local paper, the Stamford Mercury, I see Tory grandee Alan Duncan describes Labour's ban on hunting with dogs as 'vindictive...'

Tell that to the fox...!

Lincoln-born hostage coming home...

Happy New Year one and all - and especially to Lincoln-born Peter Moore who has been held hostage after being kidnapped in Iraq two-and-a-half years ago, but is expected to be reunited with his family on British soil later today.

UPDATE: Lincs Echo