Friday, 29 July 2011

More Bagman Than Batman

I take great care to avoid these blogs being labelled "misleading and inaccurate" so I feel duty bound to pass on the fact that I have received several urgent and urging messages insisting that Richard Willis will not be the next leader of the Conservatives on Reading Council.

I'm told that "Chocolate Teapot" Cumpsty (their description, not mine) is to be dumped in favour of Mark Ralph, Peppard Tory colleague of Willis and the recently axed Jamie Chowdhary.

Other Tory councillors must now start to look nervously over their shoulders and wonder who will be next.

The return of the nasty party? It never really went away.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Batman To The Rescue: Part 2

I raised the prospect of a Conservative leadership coup if the Tories didn't perform well at the last local elections here.

Unfortunately, all that proved was what a lack of any sense of humour some people have.

However, the axing of Jamie Chowdhary has brought this "bitter political power struggle" in to the public domain.

How long will it be before Richard Willis (occupation: "employed by the Ministry of Defence as an RAF full time reservist") gets the Group Leader's Allowance? My guess is not long at all!

To the Batmobile, Robin!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Freeman Of Information: Cash For Honours

There is a very small, select group of people in Reading who enjoy the honour of being a Freeman of the Borough.

Recent recipients of the town's "highest honour given in recognition of their distinguished service for Reading" are Sir John Madejski and the late former Mayor and councillor Bob Green.

You may think, therefore, that such highly esteemed civic honours carry a similar value in other places and any recipient will rank as someone of achievement and note.

Surely then we should also celebrate the fact that Conservative leader Andrew Cumpsty is a Freeman of the City of Lancaster, a matter he highlights elsewhere.

But scrolling through Lancaster City Council's list of Honorary Freeman, Andrew's name is nowhere to be found.

How can this be?

Well, apparently in Lancaster it is possible to apply and pay to become a Freeman - the current going rate is 50p. So did Andrew hand over cash for his honour?

In these tough financial times and flaging economy, perhaps Reading council should open up the Freeman of Reading club to all who are prepared to pay - make it £10 or even £100 a go and we could soon reduce the council's debt.

Perhaps Councillor Cumpsty will propose such an enterprise?


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Telegraph: Get Out Of This One Dave

It's hard to add anything to this from the newspaper that many refer to as "The Daily Torygraph".

"I’d like to have seen the Prime Minister’s face as he read this statement from the Met:

The MPS has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking. At approximately 12.00 hrs a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting together with officers from Operation Elveden. She is currently in custody.

She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking. Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the IPCC.

It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time."

Now Sky News has confirmed that the 43-year-old woman is indeed Rebekah Brooks, disgraced former CEO of News International and member of David Cameron’s social circle. I suppose I should say former member of Dave’s circle, but Andy Coulson was at Chequers soon after he left Number 10 in disgrace, so who knows?

How very, very badly all this reflects on the PM. It will be difficult to vote Tory at the next election."


Friday, 8 July 2011

Lib Dems: Getting Desperate In Redlands

With ten months to go before the next council election, on Thursday, 3 May 2012, the local Lib Dems already seem to be becoming desperate.

They obviously still haven't got over the fact that, even in a year when they thought they would benefit from the government's cash bribe to freeze council tax, they and their Tory buddies lost control of the council.

Expect more stamping of feet, more tantrums, more deceit. After the university clean-up embarrassment for them, here's more current examples.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Daily Telegraph: Why David Cameron Is In The Sewer

A powerful piece in the Daily Telegraph, which you can read in full here, but in summary:

"Until now it has been easy to argue that Mr Cameron was properly grounded with a decent set of values. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make that assertion any longer. He has made not one, but a long succession of chronic personal misjudgments.

He should never have employed Andy Coulson, the News of the World editor, as his director of communications. He should never have cultivated Rupert Murdoch. And – the worst mistake of all – he should never have allowed himself to become a close friend of Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of the media giant News International, whose departure from that company in shame and disgrace can only be a matter of time.

We are talking about a pattern of behaviour here. Indeed, it might be better described as a course of action. Mr Cameron allowed himself to be drawn into a social coterie in which no respectable person, let alone a British prime minister, should be seen dead."


"The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister knew all about Mr Coulson before last May’s coalition negotiations. And yet they both paid no attention and went on to make him the Downing Street director of communications, an indiscretion that beggars belief."

And here's from my blog from 21 January 2011.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

You Can't Trust The Lib Dems On Nuclear Power

When is a promise not to subsidise the building of new nuclear power stations with public money, not a promise?

When it's just another Lib Dem hollow pledge cast aside in their eagerness to support the Tory-led government.

The coalition agreement declared that the "Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new National Planning Statement), and also provided that they receive no public subsidy."

The first sign of change was the rather over-eager about face by the Lib Dem Energy Sectretary Chris Huhne.

In 2006 while in opposition Huhne had said “We do not believe that nuclear has a part to play in the energy generation future of this country.” In 2007 Huhne described nuclear power as a “tried, tested and failed” technology. By October 2010, now in government, "Shameless Huhne" was trumpeting the building of eight new nuclear power stations.

But it doesn't just stop there.

Not only have they flip-flopped on building new nuclear power stations, they've also agreed a massive public subsidy to the private energy companies: that will have pleased the Tories.

The last Budget handed a windfall gain to the nuclear industry from 2013 onwards of £50 millions per year, thereby enriching their private profits, but will do nothing to curb steeply rising household energy costs, or help reduce those facing fuel poverty.

Remember, the Lib Dems try to claim the moral high ground in public, yet behind the scenes in Government Departments, Clegg, Alexander, Cable and the rest are actively supporting Tory policies. At least the Tories don't pretend about these things.

Are they just Tory dupes? They can't be that stupid, can they? Make up your own mind.

But just as with tuition fees, the Lib Dems say one thing and do another.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Why Don't Lib Dems Care About Education?

Why don't Lib Dems care about education?

We know they lied over their now notorious pledge to vote against any increase in student fees.

But now even some of their activists (but not in Reading) are beginning to ask "Is Lib Dem education policy simply "Let Michael Gove do what ever he wants"? This Lib Dem councillor (and teacher) concludes that the Lib Dems have "a total lack of influence over education policy" in Parliament.

Yet sadly in Redlands local Lib Dems appear to show little interest in education matters. Local councillors usually share school governor responsibilities in their ward, but Benson, Goodall (and defeated Bayes) obviously have never made this a priority.

I hear that they didn't even bother to turn up to a meeting at Redlands Primary School today to discuss road safety issues with parents.

You don't have to be a parent to care about education, but the Lib Dems in Redlands just don't get it.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday Times Poll: Labour Holds Steady Lead

The UK Polling Report has YouGov’s weekly poll for today's Sunday Times has Labour steady with a 6 point lead over the Tories.

These figures - of LAB 42%, CON 36%, LIBDEM 9% - are very much in line with recent YouGov averages.

The public's renewed confidence in Labour chimes with our experiences canvassing in Redlands yesterday and today, with a very positive response on the doorstep.

Boris Derails Cameron's Flagship Scheme

Only days ago David Cameron was enthusiastically promoting the coalition government's £34 billion flagship transport infrastructure project, the high speed rail link (HS2) from London to Birmingham and the north.

But now London Mayor Boris Johnson has dealt a "personal blow" to Cameron by describing the project as "perverse" and "inadequate". Boris has further demanded a commitment from the government that their proposals for HS2 would include new underground rail capacity between Euston and Victoria and has concluded that "I cannot support the current proposal".

While it may be more challenging to predict a U-turn on rails, I still believe that this is "another big headline grabbing plan which will be quietly side-lined" before it finally hits the buffers.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Unlikely Things To Get Through Your Letterbox

Or a truthful Lib Dem leaflet.
Or anything from the Tories at all.