Sunday, 29 May 2011

Elections, Etc

Here are two excellent summaries of the recent council elections in Reading and the consequential change of administration.

John Ennis firmly places responsibility on the Tory High Command of Cumpsty and others for losing control of the council after just one year.

It will be vaguely interesting to see if any one pays for this political inepititude or whether they accept the same leadership charging into the 2012 elections.

John also highlights the desperate position of the Lib Dems, still supporting the same Tories who will do them over next May.

John Howarth winds the clock back to 2008, to a time when Labour lost overall majority of the council and the Tories and Lib Dems were still loathing each other, to give a broader context to their current demise.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Redlands: Meet Cllr Jan Gavin

Following her spectacular victory at the ballot box on May 5th, new Redlands Councillor Jan Gavin has finalised the dates and locations for her local ‘Meet Your Labour Councillor’ sessions from now until April 2012.

Jan will be holding monthly static sessions, mainly on the second Saturday of each month, as well as organising some roving Surgery dates using the Readibus or other locations on weekday evenings. Look out for details of when the bus is in your area.

If you have an issue, concern or problem that you would like Jan to help with please come along. Jan is also keen to hear your ideas about what you think the Council does well or should be doing better.

Details are here: Come and meet your local Labour Councillor

You don’t need to wait for these monthly events if you have an issue or concern you would like to talk to Jan about. Feel free to either email Jan at or give her a call on 0797 967 1215

Friday, 27 May 2011

Another Politician Heads For Prison

This week has seen another national politician be found guilty of fiddling his expenses, with a real expectation that he will be sentenced to a spell inside at Her Majesty's pleasure.

The past year has seen four former Labour MPs rightly tread the same route, another Tory Lord still waiting to hear his fate, and two Lib Dem current or former Cabinet ministers face questioning by the police.

The wider public are sick of this behaviour.

No one is served, however, by the type of recent intemperate language used by a local politician simply to score cheap, partisan points. Shouldn't this be the time to set a better example than those they criticise?

Let's hope this is an end to it all.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Redlands: Local Champion, Proven Record

Redlands 1995. Thanks Jonny: "When we were very young, we had lovely skin".

"Tony led the Council's successful bid for grant aid to regenerate the Hexham Road Eastate and a new community centre for our area. An experienced councillor, Tony has promoted a better relationship between local people and the University."

Friday, 20 May 2011

All About You

And now, a little about me too - for consideration by Redlands Labour Party!

By the way, Happy Birthday Cllr Richard Willis, and welcome Isobel Ballsdon, a fiesty and determined campaigner.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Will Nick Agree With Them?

In happier times they wanted to agree with Nick. Now Chris Huhne and David Laws are facing investigations by the Police. The question is will the nick agree with them?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Clegg: You Can't Trust Anything He Signs

You would have thought that after the "Cledge" fiasco of signing the pledge to abolish student fees, then voting to triple them, Nick Clegg would have been more careful about signing anything else.

But no, there was Nick Clegg as one of the three signatures gracing the foreword of the White Paper on health reform. The other two were David Cameron and Andrew Lansley.

Just to show this was not done in some fit of absent-mindedness, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke of his great enthusiasm for the reforms pointing out that the Liberal Democrats had fought the general election committed to scrapping primary care trusts and strategic health authorities.

Now Clegg says "As far as government legislation is concerned, no Bill is better than a bad one and I want to get this right. Getting these changes right — protecting the NHS not undermining it — is my number one priority."

So if Clegg was deeply committed to the health reforms in January, why has he flip-flopped in May?

Could it be the crushing defeat of Lib Dem candidates at the local elections and the massive rejection of his coalition Danegeld vote on AV has much to do with it?

Either way, we can't trust anything that bears Clegg's toxic signature.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Nick Clegg Song

And they have Chris Huhne, David Laws & Vince Cable too!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Absence Of Malice

I like these people.

Unlike the defeated Tory candidate and the others in this contest and others who showed no grace.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Does Daniel Bowen Work For No.10?

As Daniel Bowen doesn't appear to be a paid up member of the Lib Dems in Reading, further questions are being asked about who he is and what is his agenda.

In a remarkable twist this morning, there is a suggestion that he is really a Tory parachuted in from No.10 armed with a plan of undermining their coalition partners in the town.

No.10 has been forced to admit that they do employ pseudonyms to cover the identities of their officials. But surely using false names would be a step too far in Reading ...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Who Is Lib Dem Daniel Bowen?

When I first heard the name, I thought the chatter in the back street pubs in Reading was about the Wales and Arsenal midfielder Dave Bowen.

But, it's not so.

Daniel Bowen is clearly not the Average Australian nor one of the four inhabitants on Bowen Island, but could he be the Brazen Careerist?

I don't know.

What is clear is that he has and continues to do a lot of damage to the Lib Dems in Reading.

Play up, play up.

Lib Dem MP David Laws Suspended

The MP who Clegg and Cameron were desperate to get back into the Cabinet - particularly as Huhne and Cable look increasingly unreliable - has been suspended from the House of Commons following an investigation into his expense claims.

David Laws has had the most serious punishment imposed on any parliamentarian by fellow MPs following the expenses scandal.

The Prime Minister had hoped that Laws, who was popular among Conservatives as well as Liberal Democrats, would return to the cabinet soon, but this has now been ruled out.

Laws was Chief Secretary to the Treasury for 17 days last May, but resigned after The Daily Telegraph reported that he had claimed more than £40,000 to pay rent to James Lundie, his boyfriend, despite MPs having been banned from paying rent to family members or partners since 2006.

It is understood that in total the millionaire former banker Laws claimed more than £100,000, despite providing virtually no documentary evidence in support of the claims. After new rules were introduced demanding that MPs produce bills or receipts to back up such claims, Laws’s claims dropped sharply.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Labour Wins Borough Vote Share

As Reading Borough Council officers set to work on the new seating plan for the council chamber ("Cllr Gavin, here is your seat") and local Party Leaders get to work on new administrative arrangements / saving face / or in the case of the LibDems, having to elect a new leader(!), here are the figures for votes cast across the Borough:

Labour ............... 39.54% .. (up 8.43%) 17,788 votes
Conservatives .... 33.84% .. (down 1.31%) 15,223 votes
LibDems ............ 12.71% .. (down 12.94%) 5,719 votes
Green ................ 10.76% .. (up 4.08%) 4,840 votes
Others ................ 3.16% .. (up 1.76%) 1,420 votes
(figures compared to 2010)

Strong progress by Labour across the town, and the strategy of getting the LibDems to act as Mr Cameron's "human shield" really paying off for the Tories in Reading as elsewhere.

Surprisingly, another local commentator overlooked the local picture and concentrates on the national figures.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Few More Predictions ...

Over the past year I've made a number of predictions which were denied and derided at the time, but subsequently proved to be true, including:

* Gareth Epps would stand down from the council - 17 Nov 2010.

He did.

Kisten Bayes would lose in Redlands at the May 2011 council elections - 9 Dec 2010.

She did.

Warren Swaine would fall foul of the Standards Committee again - 10 Feb 2011.

He did.

There would be a LibDem/Conservative trist at the May elections - 17 Nov 2010.

"I urge all Lib Dems and Conservatives in Redlands ward to unite to keep Labour from reclaiming the ward." - Richard Willis, 5 May 2011

So here are a few more:

* LibDem Glenn Goodall will not stand in Redlands at the May 2012 council elections.

* Regardless of who stands for the LibDems, Labour will again win in Redlands in 2012.

* Labour will gain overall control of the council after the 2012 council elections.

* The LibDems will be reduced to just 3 seats in 2012.

* Daisy Benson will not stand for re-election to the council in 2014, stating her intention to seek election as an MP (outside of Reading) instead.

Dismiss them at your peril!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Welcome Councillor Gavin!

In a fantastic turnaround in Redlands Labour's Jan Gavin has unseated the LibDem Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council Kirsten Bayes - or as the Reading Post called it "the highest profile victim".

The Chronicle had "In a morning full of surprises LibDem leader Kirsten Bayes - an architect of the coalition this time last year - lost her seat in Redlands ward."

The only thing was that it was no surprise at all. The full result was:

Jan Gavin, Labour, 1,295 votes
Lib Dem, 757 votes
Conservatives, 526 votes
Green, 345 votes

Labour romped home, turning a Lib Dem majority of 762 votes in 2010 into a Labour majority of 538.

Jan has been a brilliant candidate and will certainly be an excellent councillor - well done Jan!

PS I suppose with Bayes and Epps safely despatched, the coast is now clear for Daisy to become LibDem Leader - nice!

PPS I will be asking Redlands Labour Party to consider me as a candidate in the 2012 elections, where LibDem Glenn Goodall is the incumbent.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Welcome To The Big Society

Don't Get Sick Today.
Stop Having Children.
Welcome to the Big Society.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Is Your Cat Confused About The Referendum On The Voting System?

As well as crucial council seats up for grabs this Thursday, there is also the referendum on the voting system.

I'm not sure that either the Yes or No campaigns have really got off the ground locally or nationally.

I have already voted Yes by post for these changes - but I'm not confident that enough people will.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Batman To The Rescue?

The original post contained a photograph of a number of Tory councillors in fancy dress. Cllr Willis appeared in a Batman costume. I have been asked to remove this picture, and though it rather ruins the joke, am happy to do so.

Word reaches me that should not all go well at the ballot box this Thursday, Cllr Richard Willis is being lined up to oust Andrew Cumpsty as Tory leader on Reading council.

Only Willis (pictured here behind Cumspty) will know how "misleading and inaccurate" this may be.

Leadership Couple Face Separation As Coalition Heads For Kicking

Reading Council's Coalition Couple are facing a forced separation after just a year.

According to today's Sunday Telegraph "Labour could gain 1,500 council seats in local elections as Coalition braces for kicking". The report suggests that "Both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are braced for heavy losses in this week's local elections – with the Coalition partners on track jointly to lose up to 1,500 seats."

The Telegraph goes on to say "Labour will be the big winner with Ed Miliband's party set to record its biggest share of the vote in council polls for around a decade.

The Liberal Democrats could lose around 600 seats in Thursday's poll – a third of all those currently held by Nick Clegg's party which are being contested.

A loss on this scale – together with a failure to win the referendum on changing to the Alternative Vote (AV) system, could be enough to prompt behind-the-scene discussions about how long Mr Clegg can continue at the party's helm.

He has already faced criticism from some activists over a U-turn on big increases in university tuition fees and support for Government spending cuts.

Chris Huhne, the Climate Change Secretary, is suspected by fellow ministers of being "on manoeuvres" as a possible alternative leader."

All this points to bad news for the coalition in Reading, where Lib Dem leader Kirsten Bayes is facing defeat in Redlands to Labour's Jan Gavin.

(image: Reading Chronicle)