Thursday, 29 September 2011

2012 - The Year To Celebrate

Reading Y2C say:

"It’s going to be a fantastic year – and you can make sure you don’t miss a thing by using this site to find out about all the events going on in the Reading area leading up to, and during, 2012. It’s the only site you need to plan your year of celebrations – including the London 2012 Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee."

Something tells me that in Redlands, as in other parts of the town, Thursday 3 May 2012 will be a day of great celebration. Just 31 weeks to go ... and counting!

No One Voted For The Coalition To Break Up THe NHS

Before the election David Cameron promised "no top down reorganisation of the NHS". However, no sooner had he crawled into government with his Coalition Chums led by Nick Clegg, then they unveiled the biggest top-down reorganisation of the NHS since it was created in 1948.

We've always known that you can't trust the Tories with the NHS - but now it is clear that the Lib Dems are no better, as they bring in to a Competition Regulator and Competition Courts, coalition ministers talk about "huge opportunities for the private sector" and American and German multi-national investors being lined up to buy our hospitals and take home the profits.

If thay have their way, the NHS will just become a badge, a powerful brand logo, as cover for the break-up of our national service, with a greater post code lottery in health care, as waiting lists get longer.

The battle is not over. The NHS was built by the people, is cherished by the people, it belongs to the people.

We heard Cameron's promises at the last election and saw his posters, but the truth is, you can't trust the coalition with the NHS.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

YouGov: Labour 6 Points Ahead

The latest YouGov poll has Labour 6 points ahead of the Tories and the LibDems at a dismal 8%.

Labour 43%
Conservatives 37%
Lib Dems 8%

The overall approval rating of the Coalition Government is at minus 25%

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stand With Labour

I'm proud that my 100th post of the year is a message from Ed Miliband:

I have just finished giving my speech to Labour’s Annual Conference and I wanted to write to you straight away. The way Britain is run is letting people down and holding our country back. For too long our economy and our society have rewarded the wrong people with the wrong values.

We need to build an economy that rewards the right people with the right values.

I’m asking you to ask one friend or family member to stand with Labour as a supporter.

A new bargain matters to people up and down our country. I wasn’t just speaking to Labour members in the hall when I said that I am the guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain. It was a message for the whole country.

As young people confront the choices they have in life, they see routes to success today based on the wrong set of values.

Ask a friend to stand with us as a Labour Supporter and together we will build a society that rewards hard work and the people who help each other.

Today, Labour said "no more". We need change and we need a new bargain. We need an economy built on the values of hard work, something for something, the long-term.

We see the need for a new bargain when we look at what this Government is doing. Young people, doing the right thing, wanting to go to higher education are going to find that their hard work and ambition will be punished with tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

And yet at the same time, George Osborne plans cuts in corporation tax for the banks.

These aren’t my values. I know they are not yours either. If your friend shares our values then ask them to stand with us as a Labour Supporter today

I don’t want to be Prime Minister so we can have more of the same. I want us to build a country together where each of us can reach our potential. Where together, we fulfil the Promise of Britain.

Ask a friend to stand with us and make that possible. Ask a friend to help us build a Britain based on Britain’s values: hard work, helping each other and something for something.

Thank you,

Ed Miliband
Leader of the Labour Party

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Prime Minister, The People Are Hurting

We are told by David Cameron and Nick Clegg that there is no alternative to the cuts. No Plan B to be contemplated instead of their austerity package.

Yet when the coalition embarked upon their 4 year dash to “rebalance the economy” they said the private sector would step up to create the jobs slashed in the public sector and help support our local economies. But that hasn’t happened.

Unemployment is rising, with a million young jobless and more women out of work than at any time since 1988. The economy is sliding back into recession, while the banks sit on stock piles of capital unwilling to lend to small businesses or would be mortgagees. Property developers sit on land banks, waiting for easier planning laws, while the country cries out for new housing. Food prices at record highs and train travel becoming unaffordable for many. Hospital waiting lists grow ever longer, as operations are rationed. And we now have a record prison population.

And hidden fuel poverty waiting in the wings to become a winter killer for 7 million families while Chris Huhne blames for us for being too lazy to shop around to get a better deal.

Remember when Cameron and Clegg used to claim “We’re all in this together”. They’ve stopped saying that lately.

Coalition ministers – Tories and Liberal Democrats alike – have little experience of unemployment or life on benefits. In fact, 23 of 29 Cabinet ministers are millionaires with little understanding of economic hardship. Not since the late 1950s has Britain been governed by politicians representing such a narrow social base. But at least MacMillan and his millionaire colleagues believed in the universal welfare state. Cameron and his rich chums, in contrast, are engaged in a war on welfare.

Prime Minister, the people are hurting. Are you listening?

Friday, 23 September 2011

Big Society: Disappearing Off The Agenda

Last year we had David Cameron telling us all about his "great passion" and something that will "make a real difference" to Britain - but there is no place for the Big Society on the agenda for this year's Conservative Party conference.

However, it has been blamed for dividing the cabinet and criticised as a "cover" for government spending cuts, so with volunteering and participation in the community at at a 10 year low, is this another headline grabbing initiative which will slowly be forgotten about?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Coalition Council Bans British Legion Poppy Sellers

The Royal British Legion has been banned from selling poppies in Birmingham city centre in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Birmingham City Council, which is run by a Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition, said it was following a strict first-come-first-served policy to applications from charities.

Both the Anthony Nolan Trust and Shelter, who were due to collect on the 11th and 12th November, have offered to waive their right to collect. However, the Chairman of the licensing committee Bruce Lines said "Unfortunately they are unable to overturn that decision as it would be unlawful.".

Labour Councillors in Birmingham have called on the Tory and Lib Dem leaders to make sure this problem is sorted, that common sense prevails and that the British Legion get a satisfactory outcome.

To donate on-line to this year's Poppy Appeal go here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Chancellor, The Prostitute, Cocaine, Friends, Favours & Phone Hacking

A solicitor representing victims of phone hacking by the News of the World during Mr Coulson’s time as editor suggested Mr Osborne was “almost indebted” to Mr Coulson because of the way the newspaper had covered allegations made by a prostitute that the MP had taken cocaine with her, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The phone hacking scandal is a story that just keeps on giving: you couldn't make it up.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Reading Lib Dems: "W**kers"

The latest edition of the Lib Dem's newsletter contains the following pledge: "Liberal Democrats will not personally attack any fellow councillors, regardless of their Party".

Well, that's another Lib Dem pledge that didn't last long, as earlier this week Lib Dem Cllr Goodall commented on the outcome of the Council's Transport Management Panel on Twitter thus (8 Sep):

"Politicians love their games! Labour really are a bunch of wankers!"

An apparently ill prepared and stumbling Goodall had failed to have any impact on the Panel.

However he does have a hisory of rather nasty tweets and making false and malicious claims - which the Police ignore.

He must know that he nor any other Lib Dem can win in Redlands in 2012, but the real question is will the Lib Dem leader Benson take any action against Goodall?

She certainly failed to act against Warren Swaine, choosing in fact along with their then leader Kirsten Bayes, to ignore his national suspension.

Goodness knows what decent Lib Dems like Gareth Epps make of this, as he goes off to their National Conference, seeing the reputation of Reading Lib Dems being dragged deeper into the dirt.

Empty pledges, nasty politics.

New Planning Laws: Tories Given Millions By Property Developers

The Conservative Party has received millions of pounds in donations from developers who stand to benefit from the Government’s controversial planning reforms according to The Daily Telegraph. Dozens of property firms have given a total of £3.3million to the party over the past three years, including large gifts from companies seeking to develop rural land.

Developers are also paying thousands of pounds for access to senior Tories through the Conservative Property Forum, a club of elite donors which sets up “breakfast meetings” to discuss planning and property issues.

The disclosures are likely to provoke a new “cash-for-access” row and will give rise to fears that planning policies could have been influenced by powerful figures from the property industry.

The new plaaning guidance states that there should be a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, which campaigners have warned would give developers “carte blanche”.

Some of the Tories’ biggest donors are from the property world. David and Simon Reuben, billionaires who own Millbank Tower in Westminster, have given almost £500,000 over the past decade, while Terence Cole, a London-based developer, donated almost £300,000. IM Properties, which is expanding Birch Coppice Business Park, near Tamworth, Staffs, has given around £1million since 2009.

A senior Tory MP, who did not wish to be named, accused the Chancellor, George Osborne, of “shoe-horning in” the presumption in favour of development in a bid to stimulate the economy.

He said: “This is a clear example of localism being hijacked. Developers will have state licence to print money and we will see a proliferation of identikit suburbs springing up in the countryside.”

Some were surprised when Chancellor George Osborne entered the debate last week in the face of opposition from the National Trust, English Heritage and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Perhaps we now know why.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Alok Sharma: Hospital Hypocrite

They say "Never trust a Tory with the NHS" and here's living proof.

Like many Tories before the General Election, Alok Sharma campaigned on a ticket of 'stopping' NHS cuts - he adopted the phrase 'stop Brown's NHS cuts' in his election material and on his website.

But now, after his election, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust expects to cut 200 posts during 2010/11, with a further 300-400 posts going over the following two years: where's Alok?

Alok Sharma voted for the Health and Social Care Bill, which will put profit before patients as waiting lists continue to lengthen - he is a Hospital Hypocrite.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Tory Minister, The Tory Donor And A Contract To Supply Oil

The Daily Telegraph reports how an oil firm whose chief executive has bankrolled the Conservatives won valuable rights to trade with Libyan rebels during the conflict, following secret talks involving the British Government.

The report goes on to suggest that the deal with Vitol - a firm previously fined for making payments to a Serbian warlord - was said to have been masterminded by Tory Minister Alan Duncan, the former oil trader turned junior minister, who has close business links to the oil firm and was previously a director of one of its subsidiaries.

Many will remember that this is the same Alan Duncan who at the height of the MP's Expenses Scandal, said that MPs (who are paid around £64,000 a year – within the top 4% of the population) were having, "to live on rations and are treated like shit."

Mr Duncan who had previously boasted about his second home allowance on Have I Got News For You was later forced to repay thousands of pounds he had claimed for gardening costs. Since 2001, he had claimed a total of £143,392 in second home allowance, despite owning two properties in Westminster, one of which he had rented out.

Mr Duncan's Westminster career has also included his resignation from his first government position as PPS to the Minister of Health, after it emerged that he had used the right-to-buy council house programme to make profits on property deals.

Mr Duncan remains a Minister in the Coalition Government.

Friday, 2 September 2011

New NH$

The Lib Dems like to claim that they have stopped the worst of their Tory Coalition NHS reforms. No they didn't.

BMA Council chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum has written to all MPs saying that the Health & Social Catre Bill, which goes back before Parliament next week, threatens the NHS' ability to operate "effectively and equitably, now and in the future".