Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Nasty Party's Nasty Campaign Has Begun

Reproduced from Labour List

JULY 31, 2014 8:27 AM
Three days ago a group of prominent Tory women warned that the Lynton Crosby led negative campaign the Tories are running risks re-contaminating their party and damaging their electoral prospects.
But since when did the Tories ever care about women and their uppity opinons?
Yesterday (30th July 2014) before 11pm, @CCHQPress – an official Tory Twitter account tweeted 62 times (including retweets). That seems fair enough, with all that’s going on in the world.
Guess how many tweets were about the situation in Gaza? About Russia and the decision on sanctions? On Ebola and the precautions being taken to protect citizens of the UK?
None. Not a single one.
So maybe they have a great deal to celebrate? All those Tory successes and all their many plans for the future?
Maybe not. In fact onlyfFive of these tweets were positive. Of these three were retweets. Which meant that in total, the Tory press office could be arsed composing a massive TWO tweets about their work and plans.
56 of their tweets yesterday were negative – 55 aimed at Labour and 1 at UKIP.
If they keep this work rate up from now to the election, they will have managed to say a massive 560 positive things about their own side. That might sound a lot – particularly about this shower. But it isn’t really. I’ve probably tweeted that many times about Emmerdale. It would certainly be as nothing against the 15,400 negative tweets about Labour.
Now regular readers of this column will know I don’t always have nothing but gushing praise for everything Labour ever has done. So maybe this criticism is justified?
Well that’s up to everyone to judge for themselves. But one thing is indisputable – they didn’t have 55 different things to say about Labour. In fact four of those tweets were a twisting of a quote from an Ed Balls quote during an LBC interview. And a quarter – a massive 15 different tweets were accusing Labour of plans to impose a “death tax”.
Yep, Death Tax. Those words lifted straight from the Tea Party movement in America. Because what’s really needed in these difficult times are the politics of Sarah Palin. Not.
There is room in politics for pointing out the flaws of your opponents. Let’s face it, this post is hardly a beacon of positivity! And I’ve had a problem with Labour going too negative in the past, yet I have slagged off the Tories before and will do so again. And again and again. Because they are deserving of criticism. They stalled the recovery with austerity economics that have failed to pay down the debt. They are punishing the poor and vulnerable with measures like the Bedroom Tax (and no more bloody “Spare Room Subsidy” nonsense from any party who tries it on with “Death Tax” if you please). They have failed to rebalance the economy leaving wages low and employment insecure.
But I will always try to balance that. Try to ensure that the majority of my output is on what Labour’s offer is and why electing a Labour government will make a difference to the lives of people in real, significant ways that matter.
Because ultimately the country has a choice. Between a Labour Party that is offering a strong positivepolicy offer and a Tory Party unable and unwilling to shake off their nasty image. A Party with so little left to offer they have to resort to that image as their best chance. Not to win, but to beat the other guy.
We’re a better Party than that and ultimately we’re a better country than that. We sent Lynton Crosby that message the last time he masterminded this kind of morally bankrupt Tory campaign in 2005. Let’s make sure we send the same message again.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New East Reading Secondary School: Crescent Road Site Confirmed

Breaking News from the Reading Chronicle ...
PLANS for a secondary free school in east Reading have taken a huge step forward after the borough council confirmed it will be built in Crescent Road.
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The council bought the site last year to cope with the rising demand for school places but a political row erupted over whether the school should be in Crescent Road or the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
But the borough council's policy committee tonight agreed to sell the Crescent Road site to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) so that it can become the new Maiden Erlegh secondary free school for 900 pupils.
Education leader Cllr John Ennis: "The council bought the site last year for the express purpose of securing it for a new school which is particularly needed in the east of the borough.
"Without it not only would Reading's secondary schools be full by 2017, it would mean fewer parents and pupils getting a place at the school of the their choice."
Before work can begin the project needs to be approved by the borough's planning committee but the decision means work can begin for the new school to open to Year 7 students in September 2015.
Dr Peter Thomas, executive headteacher at Maiden Erlegh, said: "We look forward to working closely with Reading Borough Council on the building of the new school as part of the provision of outstanding education for children in east Reading."

Friday, 18 July 2014

HM Queen In Reading

Her Majesty the Queen seemed to be very happy when she visited Reading this week.

Picture courtesy of the Reading Post.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Vehicle Tax Disc Abolished

Tax Discs Soon To Be A Thing Of The Past
Thinking about the imminent arrival of more residents' parking schemes in Redlands, I am reminded that another familiar part of our car-driving lives will soon be disappearing for good: the tax disc. 

Since 1921 a paper based licence (Tax disc) has been required for motorists to display on their vehicle windscreen as evidence of having paid the "road tax". 

However, from 1 October 2014 the paper disc will no longer be required. The DVLA and Police now rely on an electronic register to support compliance, so making the disc no more than a quaint anachronism. 

Of course, we all still have to pay the tax and accept that it is not ring-fenced for improvements to roads or other forms of transport.

Come to think of it, Reading council's scrutiny of residents parking services heard evidence of a similar "no paper permit"approach to local parking schemes: so enjoy the paper permits while you can!