Monday, 30 January 2012

Cameron's U Turn On Veto

Remember all the big talk about how Cameron had saved the nation from all those nasty Europeans by bravely wielding his "Veto".

Well, this is how Conservative Home sees it now:

"Cameron's veto has all but died" and "A capitulation".

Leading Tory MEP Dan Hannan is clear:

"December's 'veto' turns out to be nothing of the kind; at best, it is a partial opt-out. Britain had asked for concessions in return for allowing the other member states to use EU institutions and structures for their fiscal compact. No such concessions were forthcoming, but we have given them permission anyway. The only difference is that, because the deal was done in a separate treaty structure, the PM doesn't have to put anything through the House of Commons. We had a generational opportunity to improve our relationship with the EU. That opportunity has passed."

Martin Callanan, leader of Tory MEPs, has come to a similar conclusion:

"There is no doubt that the Government's position has altered since the December summit when they were insisting the Institutions could not be used."

Even poor, old Iain Duncan Smith was adamant on Sunday's Andrew Marr show that Cameron would uphold the veto: Canmeron's made him look a right chump!

Typical Cameron: big talk, little action.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Cameron: Hypocrite On RBS Chief's Pay

Cameron: All Talk On Fat Cat Pay, But No Action
A couple of weeks ago David Cameron said that “big rewards” for corporate failure “make people’s blood boil” and that the Government would now prepare new rules which will give shareholders the legal right to veto excessive pay packages.

So what does he do when the Royal Bank of Scotland - in which the government holds an 83% share on our behalf - award chief executive Stephen Hester a £963,000 bonus on top of his £1.2million salary?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip.

Typical Cameron: big talk, little action.

All in this together? Not likely.

The Tories will always protect their cronies in the City.

What a hypocrite.

(cartoon image: Martin Rowson,

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

We STILL Need A New Secondary School In East Reading

Lib Dems:"An Earley School For Earley Children"
Last November I started a petition requesting that the Government reconsider the decision to open a new secondary school in East Reading - but only for 14 to 19 year olds. The original post is here. Since then, hundreds of people have signed the paper-based petition, as well as more being aware of the e.petition.

The e.petition can be found here.

Now, further information shows that schools in Reading and Wokingham will be full by 2014. Further housing development plans in Wokingham will only add to these pressures and will, in time, make it even more difficult to access secondary school places.

We know the Tories hate the thought of Reading school children being educated in Wokingham schools, and as can been seen on the Earley Lib Dem website, they too campaign  for "an Earley School for Earley's children". The recent admissions review can surely only be a sticking plaster for a long outstanding problem.

So we must make sure that we protect the interests of future school children in East Reading by demanding that the Government think again, and not waste the current opportunity to provide a full 11 to 19 years secondary school by 2014.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Labour Gains From Lib Dems Where It Matters - In The Ballot Box

Roll On 3 May In Redlands

With just a 100 days left before the next council elections, further evidence arrives of voters turning their backs on the discredited LibDems and coming home to Labour.

In two by-elections last week, Labour picked up seats, both with significant swings from the Lib Dems:

Redcar & Cleveland UA (Newcomen Ward). Lab gain from LibDem.
Lab 539, LibDem 484, Con 76.

Swing of 15.3% from LibDem to Labour since May 2011.

St Albans DC (Batchwood Ward).
Lab gain from LibDem.
Lab 1002, LibDem 395, Con 347, Green 76.
Swing of 8.5% from LibDem to Labour since May 2011.
Roill on 3 May!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Cancer Patients And Disabled Set To Pay For Bankers' Failure

Welfare reform plans which cut support for cancer patients and the disabled were defeated in the House of Lords last night  - but the Lib Dem / Tory coalition government immediately said that it will "seek to reverse the amendments".

Members of the House of Lords last night rejected proposals to limit the availability of the employment and support allowance (ESA), which would mean significant cuts for many of the most vulnerable in our society.
However, Labour said the coalition had been defeated for trying to "cross the basic line of British decency. The British public do not accept the idea that the banks screw up and very disabled people pay the bill.”

Opponents of the reform urged ministers not to try to reinstate the measures in the Commons. However, Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, said the Government would seek to over-turn the Lords' amendments and would press ahead with the cuts.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Congratulations Tim, But ...

Runner Harris
As I predicted last November compromise candidate Tim Harris has replaced Andrew Cumpsty as the new leader of the Conservatives on Reading Borough Council. As one commentator put it "Poor Richard Willis passed over by a younger man!" And congratulations to Jeanette Skeats as Deputy Leader - she was certainly beaming last night!

The question of whether (or when) Harris will attempt to chicken-run to a safer Tory seat in face of a resurgent Labour Party in Church ward remains to be seen. People laughed when this was first suggested, but wait and see ... he could hang on until 2014, but he would have fewer options then and it would look more cynical or desperate.

Along with Glenn Goodall fleeing Redlands, Harris is just another prediction come true.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Fugitive Lib Dem Arrested - But They'll Keep His Money

"The fraudster only gave us this much"

Multi-millionaire fraudster and Liberal Democrat donor Michael Brown has been arrested in the Dominican Republic after going on the run, police said. Brown was sentenced in his absence to seven years in jail after being convicted of fraud at Southwark Crown Court in 2008.

He donated about £2.4 million to the Lib Dems ahead of the 2005 general election - its largest donation to date. He secretly used investors' money to fund the record donation to the Lib Dems' 2005 election war chest.

However, the Lib Dems have always refused to give the money back.

Friday, 6 January 2012

What's The Point Of Nick Clegg?

Needs no explanation.

Whereas Clegg has quite a lot of explaining to do ...

(Thanks to Cllr Chris Maskell for finding this one)

RBH: Inquiry Launched

RBH: Spending Money On Investigation 
Following the botched attempt to get rid of the Chief Executive Ed Donald at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, word reaches me that a high level investigation has been launched into the whole squalid affair.

Many will see this as a further humilation to the hospital's senior executives. And, of course, as there as no such thing as a cost-free report, it will also consume money that should be spent on providing front-line medical care.

So as the good name of our proud hospital gets dragged further through the mud, to those responsible for this shambles, there is only one last message: In the name of all that is good, go!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Coalition's Small Business Job Creation Scheme Flops

The coalition’s flagship job creation scheme has cost more to administer in its first year than the support it provided, Treasury figures show.

Just 12,400 jobs claiming tax breaks under the £940m national insurance scheme holiday scheme have been created in its first 13 months of operation, costing £6m. The three-year scheme has so far cost £12m to set up and administer. It had been claimed the scheme would create 800,000 new jobs.

Mr Osborne had said the scheme would help stimulate private sector activity in parts of the country experiencing the heaviest cuts in public expenditure. However, businesses in London, the South East and East of England are prevented from applying to focus the incentives on the rest of the country.

Labour say the Government should extend the scheme to all businesses creating new jobs for one year so that it was fully utilised.