Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday Times Poll: Labour Lead Growing Again

The UK Polling Report has YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times having topline figures of LAB 44%, CON 36%, LDEM 10% which would be in line with Labour’s lead growing again.

This seems to chime with our experiences canvassing in Redlands yesterday and today with a very positive response on the doorstep.

Many campaigns adopt a theme song ... this afternoon we were thinking of "Keep Right On To The End Of The Road" - or at least until 10pm on Thursday 5 May!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Clegg Goes Skiing In Switzerland As Brits Left Stranded In Libya

We are told that the last of the Brits are being helped to flee Libya today, but Tory grandee Lord Tebbit questions "Why did it take so long? Many other countries were able to organise flights to repatriate their nationals, so why were we so slow off the mark?"

Was it that with Cameron in the Middle East, Clegg was supposed to assume some responsibility?

Clegg is paid £135,000 to be Deputy Prime Minister, but when he was asked whether he was in charge while the Prime Minister was away, sipping from a mug marked “Deputy Prime Minister” he said

“Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that. I’m holding the fort but I’m hoping to take the end of the week off with my kids. Someone else will have to do it then. It sounds more haphazard than it probably is."

Within hours of giving the interview, to the Metro newspaper, Mr Clegg did indeed head on holiday to his family ski chalet in Switzerland departing on Tuesday – a day after Mr Cameron left for his tour of the Middle East. His aides said that he was due to land back in the UK on Thursday night – just as Mr Cameron also touched down.

Perhaps only in Clegg's world Tuesday is "the end of the week".

Tebbit concludes that Cameron "can ill afford to let the accusation that the Coalition is a government of muddlers go unanswered".

Friday, 25 February 2011

Fighting The Cuts: Intellectually, Judicially & Politically

Here's a great 8 minute demolition of the Tory / Lib Dem justification for the cuts by Mehdi Hasan, the editor of the News Statesman. Watch it, repeat it and pass it on.

The Nobel Prize Winners for Economics he mentions are:

2001 Joseph Stigliltz
2008 Paul Krugman
2010 Christopher Pissarides

And a link to "The Economic Consequences of Mr Osborne"

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Three Questions For Reading's Lib Dems

Word reaches me of a number of questions doing the rounds ...

1. Has a Reading Lib Dem councillor been suspended by the national party? I'm told the penalty is for 14 days.

(Update: Reading Chronicle confirms this is true and that the councillor is Warren Swaine)

(Update: Is the suspension now 14 weeks?)

2. Is the running of Reading Lib Dem Party under any form of review from the national party?

(Update: Reading Post/Get Reading confirms that Lib Dem national office is forcing change of leadership in Reading Lib Dem local party organisation)

3. Were the Reading Lib Dems about to strike a deal - against national policy - with the Tories not to run opposing candidates in some wards in the May council elections?

It is widely heard that the Lib Dem National Office had to intervene recently to get Cllr Swaine to stand down from the Cabinet after the "Twitter race row" - in the absence of the local leadership making it happen.

Now it seems, that void of leadership under Cllr Kirtsen Bayes may have provoked greater intervention by Lib Dem HQ at Cowley Street.

I have previously described how the local Lib Dems and Tories were said to have been discussing an election pact (source: a RBC Tory Councillor) and rumours are intensifying.

It is clear that the under fire Lib Dem leader Cllr Kirsten Bayes is facing a tough challenge from Labour's Jan Gavin in Redlands - and some may believe that such a pact might, just might, save her neck.

However, voters tend not to like having their options narrowed, or a feeling that a decision has been made for them, so the whole strategy could well back fire!

Perhaps they would like to come clean on these questions.

NB I'm am happy to accept the assurance that Gareth Epps was not quitting is true.

(Update: Gareth Epps now confirms he is NOT defending his seat in Katesgrove this May)


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Smell The Rubber: More Transport U-Turns!

The Transport U-Turns keep coming out of Reading Council!

Here's the latest reported in Get Reading, with a dramatic change just as another Labour petition was to be launched against huge hikes in parking charges at the Farmers Market.

Add this to a growing list ...

Last week's confirmation that the Lib Dem / Tory secret, unsatisfctory and confusing kerb parking scheme, would now to be opened up to public consultation - not merely councillors.

And then there was the hastily dumped street over-night parking charges scheme.

It is clear that in less than a year the strategic leadership on parking and highways is this town is in complete disarray, lacking any coherent or consistent vision. What a shambles they have become and a laughing stock of a lead councillor!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Lib Dem Councillor Warren Swaine Found Guilty Of Bringing The Council Into Disrepute

No, this doesn't relate to the "Twitter Race Row" which seems to be the reason why Lib Dem Warren Swaine resigned from the Council's Cabinet this week, but something entirely different!

Reading Borough Council's Assessment Sub-Committee of the Standards Committee met on 2 November 2010 and decided that:

"Councillor Swaine had breached the Members' Code of Conduct by virtue of his failure to treat others with respect and bringing the Council and his office into disrepute."

So he has form already - and recently - not that you would guess.

I have every expectation that this won't be the last time that Cllr Swaine falls foul of this Sub-Committee.

Is anyone in charge of the Lib Dems in Reading anymore?

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Jim Hanley - A Good Guy

Jim Hanley's sudden and unexpected death has shocked many. He was a good guy, with an easy, modest charm.

The news made me, and many others, cry.

You know when you get a phone call from a friend speaking with an unfamiliar tone that's something is wrong. And so it has been over the last day or so for many of us.

Jim was a councillor of distinction who took great responsibility without seeking personal accolades or headlines: he just wanted to do the right thing and move on.

A few years ago, when I and others pressed the council to pay attention to the drugs and prostitution blight along the Oxford Road it fell to Jim to lead the open inquiry. His abiding interest was not to seek easy targets of agencies or people to blame or find quick or superficial answers: he just wanted to do the right thing. In time, I learned to accept his wisdom.

More recently, having reshaped his professional career, he planned a life beyond the council. The tradegy is that he and Trish have been denied that time.

Jim, you were a good guy. I am proud to have known you and will always admire, respect and remember you.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Five Lib Dem Councillors Quit Party

BBC South's Peter Henley has the details of three Lib Dem councillors quitting the party in Eastleigh, variously saying they were "disillusioned with the local and national party".

One of them, Councillor Glynn Davies-Dear, said that he had initially supported the coalition government's policies to reduce government debt but now felt that it was going wrong.

"No matter how dire our financial situation, I don't think the poorest should be paying to bail us out. The blow is falling hardest on those who can least afford it."

He also criticised his former party's change of policy on tuition fees saying: "I can't appear on the doorstep and say 'trust me I'm a Liberal Democrat' if my elders and betters are breaking their promises."

Meanwhile, just up the M3 in Winchester, two more Lib Dem councillors have also quit.

According to the Hampshire Chronicle Cllr Adrian Hicks said he was "furious over national issues such as tuition fees and education maintenance allowance".

Something tells me they won't be the last.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

False Economy - Why The Cuts Are The Wrong Solution

Spread the word with this You Tube - there are alternatives to this Lib Dem/Tory ideology of blame & cut, blame & cut!

And make them pay on 5th May.