Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Blair all talk on School Discipline

The National Union of Teachers have revealed shocking evidence of the scale of indiscipline and violence by pupils.
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised in 1997: ‘Teachers will be entitled to positive support … to promote good attendance and sound discipline’ (Labour Party Manifesto 97). All talk.
• Examples of pupil violence cited by the NUT include a teacher who was stabbed in the neck by a 14 year-old, another who had a kettle of boiling water poured over them, and one who was left with severe leg injuries after a pupil attack (BBC News Online and The Guardian, 28 Mar 05).
• Under Mr Blair, a teacher is assaulted every seven minutes.
• There were over 17,000 expulsions for violence in just one term in 2003. Teaching unions believe even this could be an underestimate, since schools may have failed to report the true figures for fear of being labelled ‘failing’ (Times Educational Supplement, 6 Aug 04).
• 31 per cent of teachers considering leaving the profession cite poor pupil behaviour as a reason.
• Appeals panels overrule head teachers in one in five cases, forcing them to readmit pupils they have expelled. Of 1,070 appeals made in the last year for which figures are available, 21 per cent were upheld – putting 210 expelled pupils back into the classroom.
• Nearly one in ten (nine per cent) of secondary schools have unsatisfactory levels of behaviour, and the number of schools where behaviour is unsatisfactory ‘shows no sign of reducing’, according to the Chief Inspector of Schools (Report of HM Chief Insp of Schools 03/04, Feb 05).
Liberal Democrats
The Lib Dems have no policies to improve school discipline. They want to continue Labour’s discredited policy of forcing schools to take disruptive pupils and say that ‘increasing exclusions is a recipe for disaster’ (Lib Dem Press Release, 29 Nov 04).
Conservative Action
The Conservatives believe that a small minority of pupils should not be allowed to disrupt the education of the majority. We have a five-point Action Plan to restore discipline:
1. We will give head teachers the final say over exclusions and scrap appeals panels.
2. We will give head teachers an unqualified right to insist on parental agreement to discipline as part of the conditions of entry/attendance for their children.
3. We will scrap Labour’s plans to force all state schools to take their share of undisciplined pupils.
4. We will give schools the funds and financial freedom to introduce random drug- testing, CCTV and metal detectors.
5. We will give teachers greater legal protection so that they can enforce discipline without fear of having their lives ruined if a child alleges abuse.

Action On Immigration

The number of workers coming to the UK from the EU accession countries has topped 150,000 since last May – a rate of 9,000 a month (Daily Express, 28 March 2005). This is more than ten times Government predictions of 5-13,000 arrivals a year.
Why Labour are all talk
Tony Blair said: ‘Every country must have firm control over immigration and Britain is no exception’ (Labour Manifesto, 97). After eight years in power, and just months before an election, Mr Blair claims that he can fix our chaotic immigration system. People will see that is all talk.
• Immigration has tripled under Labour. Total net immigration to Britain averaged 157,000 people a year between 97 and 2003; between 93 and 97 the average was 50,000. 157,000 people equivalent to a town the size of Peterborough arrive in the UK every year.
• Only one in five asylum seekers is removed from the United Kingdom. Under Labour, there are now over 250,000 failed asylum seekers living in Britain who have no right to be here.
• According to Labour’s own predictions, Britain’s population will increase by 6.1 million over the next thirty years. Immigration will account for 84 per cent of the increase (roughly five million people). That is equivalent to five times the population of Birmingham.
• The cost of immigration and asylum has increased tenfold under Labour. It has rocketed from £200 million in 1996-7 to almost £2 billion in 2003-4.
Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats want to surrender Britain’s asylum and immigration policies to the European Union and want to remove the control that Britain has over its borders.
What will Conservatives do?
The Conservatives believe we need a fair immigration and asylum system that helps genuine refugees and gives priority to those who want to work hard and make a positive contribution.
• A Conservative Government will set an annual maximum limit on the number who can settle in Britain, including a quota for asylum seekers.
• Britain will take her fair share of the world’s genuine refugees. We have a moral obligation to help those fleeing persecution.
• Conservatives will introduce an Australian-style points system for work permits – giving priority to people with the skills Britain needs.
• We will ensure that where work permits are temporary, they carry no presumption of a right to settle permanently in the UK.
• We will put in place 24-hour security at ports to prevent illegal immigration.
• We will put in place effective health checks for those coming to the United Kingdom.
People have a clear choice: controlled and limited immigration with the Conservatives, or unlimited immigration under Mr Blair and the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Blair: All talk on Health

According to this week’s NHS Workforce Survey, almost £1.5 billion was spent last year on extra managers and bureaucrats brought in to support Labour’s micromanagement of the NHS (The Times, 28 March 2005). That would be enough to fund an extra 52,000 nurses.
The Survey shows that the total increase in managers and senior managers between 1997 and 2004 was 15,554. It also shows that the number of staff in central functions increased by 29,183 between 1997 and 2004.
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised ‘not just to save the NHS but make it better’ (Party Conf Speech, 97). All talk.
• Over one million people in the UK are still waiting for treatment on the NHS (House of Commons Library, 04).
• More people wait for longer on average to be treated in dirty hospitals under Mr Blair. This is because the average wait for hospital treatment has gone up – from 90 days in 1999-2000 to 95 days in 2003-4 (Hospital Episode Statistics, 7 Dec 04).
• The number of people being killed by the hospital ‘superbug’ MRSA has more than doubled since 1997 (National Statistics, Health Statistics Quarterly, Spring 04, p.16) despite Labour’s 23 ‘initiatives’ to tackle the problem. 5,000 people a year die from hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA (Source: National Audit Office, ImprovingPatient Care by Reducing the Risk of Hospital Acquired Infection: A Progress Report, HC 876, 14 Jul 04, p.24). That is more than the number killed on Britain’s roads.
Meanwhile, taxpayers’ money is not going to the frontline:
• The number of managers in the NHS is increasing three times as fast as the number of doctors and nurses (Department of Health, NHS Workforce Statistics, 22 Mar 05).
• The NHS Plan, published in July 2000, contained over 200 targets, plus a whole host of ‘aims’ and ‘aspirations’.
• Under Labour, spending on the NHS in England alone has risen by £29.1 billion (Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 04, Cm. 6201, April 04) or £1,400 per household. But productivity has fallen by nearly one per cent per year since 97 (National Statistics, Major step towards measuring health service productivity, 18 Oct 04). If the private sector was run like the NHS, the economy would have been in recession for the past seven years.
• Between 1999-2000 and 2002-3 spending on hospitals increased by nearly 30 per cent, whilst output increased by just under 5 per cent (House of Commons Library, January 2005 and Hospital Episode Statistics, 7 Dec 04).
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrat plans for the NHS don’t add up. They want to spend billions more, but they haven’t said where the money would come from. They also haven’t said how they pay off Labour’s borrowing. That’s why taxes would have to go up under the Lib Dems – and why their spokesperson Andrew George MP has said: ‘trust us we’ll put your taxes up’ (Simon Mayo Show, Radio Five Live, 19 Jan 05).
Conservative Action
Conservatives will act to clean up our hospitals. We believe local hospitals should meet required standards of cleanliness, and should be made accountable to patients by more information about the level of infections. Doctors and nurses need help to tackle infection. We will cut waiting lists by:
• We will reform and invest by increasing the NHS budget by £34 billion within five years of taking office – from £1,450 per head to £2,000 a head. Spending will go directly to the front line.
• We will scrap all of Mr Blair's politically inspired targets on the NHS which distort clinical priorities and have lead to the proliferation of hospital 'superbugs' such as MRSA.
• We will put matron in charge of making sure wards are clean. There will be a matron in each hospital and a senior nurse for each ward. The nominated person will have both the responsibility, resources and the power to control all aspects of cleanliness and infection control on their ward.

People have a clear choice: cleaner hospitals and shorter waiting lists with the Conservatives or dirty hospitals and long waiting lists under Mr Blair and the Lib Dems.

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

Mr Blair - All talk on Asylum & Immigration

New figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that Britain still accepts more asylum seekers than almost all other industrialised countries.

Why Labour are all talk
After eight years in power, and just months before an election, Mr Blair claims that he can fix our chaotic immigration system. People will see that as all talk.
• Mr Blair said: ‘Every country must have firm control over immigration and Britain is no exception’ (Labour Manifesto, 97).
• Mr Blair recently proposed a points system which would: ‘only allow into Britain the people and skills our economy needs’ (Home Office, Controlling Our Borders: Making Migration Work for Britain, Five Year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration, Feb 05). But the proposed points system will enforce no annual limit – the Government has simply repackaged and tinkered with the existing arrangements.
• Mr Blair said: ‘There is no, and should be no, tolerance of abuses [of the immigration system]’ (BBC News Online, 7 Apr 04).
• But the Government itself has abused the system. Mr Blair’s former Home Secretary said: ‘I’ve doubled the number of work permits this year to 150,000… so that we can open up those opportunities rather than literally hundreds of thousands of people working illegally’ (David Blunkett, Speech to the Social Market Foundation, 26 Jun 02).
• The number of work permits has almost quadrupled since 1997.
• The number of grants of settlement, which allow those who have worked in the UK for four years to settle permanently, has almost tripled under Labour.

Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats want to surrender Britain’s asylum and immigration policies to the European Union and want to remove the control that Britain has over its borders.

What will Conservatives do?
The Conservatives believe we need a fair immigration and asylum system that helps genuine refugees and gives priority to those who want to work hard and make a positive contribution.
• A Conservative Government will set an annual maximum limit on the number who can settle in Britain, including a quota for asylum seekers.
• Britain will take her fair share of the world’s genuine refugees. We have a moral obligation to help those fleeing persecution.
• Conservatives will introduce an Australian-style points system for work permits – giving priority to people with the skills Britain needs.
• We will ensure that where work permits are temporary, they carry no presumption of a right to settle permanently in the UK.
• We will put in place 24-hour security at ports to prevent illegal immigration.
• We will put in place effective health checks for those coming to the United Kingdom.
People have a clear choice: controlled and limited immigration with the Conservatives or unlimited immigration under Mr Blair and the Liberal Democrats.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

BRUSSELS: A note from Daniel Hannan MEP

An occasional euro-briefing from Daniel Hannan MEP.


Regular recipients of these bulletins may remember reading about some of the more colourful ways in which the EU tries to buy itself popularity. There was, for example, the infamous booklet aimed at young children, entitled “Let’s draw Europe together”, whose opening exercise involved writing “Europe – my country” in the various official languages. There was the fund dedicated to flying local and national journalists out to Brussels and showing them a good time. There were the bungs given to federalist pressure groups, such as the European Movement. And – my personal favourite, this – there was the hilarious Tintin-style comic book, Troubled Waters, featuring the adventures of a feisty MEP called Irina. This, you may recall, was the book that contained such sizzling lines as “You can laugh! Wait till you’ve seen my amendments to the Commission proposal!”

Over the past four years, I and other Conservative MEPs have tried – without much success, I’m afraid – to reduce the amount of your money being spent on all this. Yet it now turns out that much of the EU’s propaganda is not only irksome, but illegal. Don’t take my word for it: listen to the EU itself. The following excerpt is from a legislative proposal “to promote active European citizenship” which is currently clunking its way through the Brussels machinery:

“For several years, support has been provided for promoting active European citizenship, especially under headings in Part A of the budget:
· Heading A-3020 co-finances the costs of the “Our Europe” Association
· Heading A-3021 co-finances the operating costs of European think-tanks and organisations advancing the idea of Europe
· Heading A-3024 co-finances the activities of associations and federations of European interest
· Heading A-3030 co-finances the operating costs of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles
· Heading 3036 co-finances the operating costs of the Jean Monnet House and the Robert Schuman House
· Article A-321 supports town-twinning schemes in the European Union
Most of these operations have hitherto been carried out without any legal basis.” [emphasis added]

What is most striking about this is the blatancy. There is nothing new, alas, in the EU acting first and legislating later. On the contrary, this is the normal way for it to proceed. The extension of Brussels jurisdiction into environmental policy happened during the early 1980s, and was retrospectively legalised in the Single European Act. The Common Foreign and Security Policy was forged during the late 1980s, but only formally recognised in Maastricht. The integration of justice and home affairs had begun well before it was given a legal basis in Amsterdam. As often as not, new European treaties are there to give de jure approval to a de facto extension of EU competence.

But I can’t remember seeing such a brazen admission before. Here is the EU saying, in effect: “Oh dear: we’ve been spending all this money to make people love us without any basis in the treaties. But rather than now complying with the law, we will change the law so as to comply with what we are doing”.

Is it surprising that an organisation which takes such a casual view of its own rules is rather hopeless at cracking down on fraud, corruption and other abuses? Is it wise for Britain, which has a strong tradition of the rule of law, to hand more and more powers over to such a body? Is it sensible to be part of a project which proceeds on the basis of making up the rules as it goes along?

If you know of anyone else who might like to receive these bulletins, please email their address to dhannan@europarl.eu.int


The Lib Dems today launch a campaign, but they won’t talk about the issues that matter– more police, school discipline, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes and controlled immigration – and they won’t talk about many of their real policies. LibDems would:
Oppose tough punishments for criminals. LibDems would scrap mandatory sentences for murderers & repeat rapists (LibDem Policy Paper 51, Justice & the Community, Jun 02, p 42).
2. Propose higher council tax. Lib Dem councils talk more, cost more, deliver less and their local income tax would cost a typical hard-working couple in England £630 a year more than even today’s council tax (Local Gov Precepts, Band D 2004-5, ODPM Press Release, 25 Mar 04; correlated with Party control at Mar 04).
3. Propose 40 higher taxes. Lib Dems have already pledged to raise taxes 40 times to help pay for their own 100 spending commitments. And they have no way of filling the ‘black hole’ in Mr Blair’s financial plans, so they will be forced to raise taxes even further. They have even admitted this, saying ‘Our slogan at the next election will be “Trust us, we will put your taxes up”’ (Andrew George on Radio 5 Live, Simon Mayo Show, 19 Jan 05).
4. Oppose controlled immigration. Lib Dems would give Europe control of our immigration system and would oppose any limit on numbers (LibDem Policy Development Paper, Safe Havens, Sept 04, p. 11).
5. Propose abolishing good schools. Lib Dems want to abolish faith schools, grammar schools and specialist schools – the types of school that are doing well and where discipline is good (Phil Willis, Speech to Lib Dem Party Conference, 9 Mar 02).
6. Propose more tax on transport. Lib Dems would impose new congestion and parking taxes on drivers and new taxes on air travel for hard-working families (Lib Dem Press Release, 15 Oct 03 & Lib Dem Policy Paper 46, Transport for People, Aug 01, p.26).
7. Propose health plans that don’t work. Lib Dems want to rename and ring-fence National Insurance Contributions to fund the NHS (Lib Dem Policy Paper 53, Quality, Innovation, Choice, Sept 02, p. 53). This would leave a shortfall of £15 billion by 2007-8. So to avoid jeopardising NHS funding, they would therefore have to increase their renamed National Insurance every year.
8. Oppose extending home ownership – and impose unwanted development against local people’s wishes (Lib Dem Internal Briefing Document, Housing Full Portfolio Briefing, Aug 02, p. 13 & Lib Dem Press Release, 6 Feb 01).
9. Propose handing control of our defence to Europe. Lib Dems think we should rely on Europe to provide Britain’s defence (Lib Dem Policy Paper 47, Defending Democracy, 02, p. 16).
10. Propose handing over more powers to Europe. LibDems would scrap the pound & join the euro (Lib Dem Policy Briefing 34, Policies on Membership of the Single Currency, May 04), and give unelected judges and bureaucrats more control of our lives by signing the European Constitution (Lib Dem Press Release, Britain should do everything it can for EU Constitution, 28 Nov 03).

Monday, 21 March 2005


Surrey’s Chief Constable, Bob Quick, has told a national newspaper that ‘nearly 90 per cent’ of police time is spent filling in forms, rather than fighting crime.
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised to ‘relieve the police of unnecessary bureaucratic burdens to get more police officers back on the beat’ (Labour Party Manifesto, 97). All talk.
• Yet Mr Quick has said that: ‘It costs a third of a million pounds to train a constable in the first four years of his career, so it does seem bizarre that nearly 90 per cent of their time they are either doing form-filling and bureaucracy’ (The Sunday Telegraph, 20 Mar 05).
• He went on to say ‘Only 10 or 12 per cent of their time are they doing things that I feel constables should do’ (ibid.).
• Across the country as a whole, police officers already spend almost half of their time at their desks instead of being on the streets fighting crime.
• Detection rates in Surrey have fallen by almost a half since 1998-9, which means that only one in five crimes is cleared up by the police.
• Crime is out of control – gun crime has doubled under Labour and there are now more than a million violent crimes each year.
• Last week, the Chief Constables of Nottinghamshire Police and three other forces said that Government bureaucracy and inflexible funding are preventing them from fighting crime.

Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats are soft on crime. Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat Home Office Spokesman, has said: ‘I'm absolutely convinced that prison is a complete and utter waste of time’ (BBC Radio 4, 9 Nov 04). And Simon Hughes, their
President, has said: ‘Liberal Democrats have always been [clear] that there should never be mandatory sentences’ (Hansard, 13 Jan 02, Col. 433).

What will Conservatives do?
We believe our society needs more respect, discipline and decent values. We will cut political correctness and police paperwork, and put more police on the beat. Under our Timetable for Action:
• Within the first day of a Conservative Government, we will announce plans to prevent police officers having to fill in a form every time they stop someone.
• Within the first month, we will start the recruitment of an extra 5,000 police officers each year.


Michael Howard will today launch the Conservatives’ action plan to tackle the growing problem of illegal traveller sites and unauthorised developments. He will argue that planning laws should apply equally to everyone and it is time for fair play.

Why Labour are all talk
Before he was elected, Mr Blair declared, ‘I love our countryside’ (Country Life, 26 Sept 96). All talk. Labour’s human rights laws and new planning regulations have undermined the planning system, with one rule for travellers and another set of rules for everyone else.
• In the Government’s own words, ‘there has recently been a large increase in the number of unauthorised Gypsy and traveller encampments’ (ODPM, Planning for Gypsy and traveller sites, Dec 04, p.33) and ‘the total number of caravans on unauthorised encampments and developments increased by 38 per cent from January 1997 and Jan 04’ (p.34).
• A survey by the National Farmers’ Union has found that illegal travellers are costing Britain’s farmers £100 million a year, with more than half the respondents reporting that the number of cases of illegal encampments has increased in the last five years (NFU Press Release, 7 Nov 03).

Liberal Democrats
Locally, Liberal Democrats often oppose new encampments when travellers arrive. Yet nationally, they oppose new enforcement powers for local councils; they would force every council to build traveller camps – irrespective of local wishes; and they support Labour’s Human Rights Act even where it undermines planning laws.

What will Conservatives do?
The British people have an inherent sense of fair play. They do not believe it is fair that we should have one planning law for people wanting to build new homes or make alterations to their houses, and another for travellers.
Conservatives propose a seven-point action plan to stop illegal traveller camps and unauthorised developments, to give stronger rights to local residents, and to ensure planning controls are fairly enforced for all.
• Reviewing or repealing the Human Rights Act: Applying the same planning laws should apply to everyone.
• Preventing abuse of retrospective planning permission: Giving councils powers to refuse retrospective applications where the law has knowingly been broken.
• Making traveller trespass a criminal offence: Adopting the tough laws introduced in the Republic of Ireland, with measures to provide protection against criminalisation of unintended trespass.
• Stopping irresponsible land speculation: Extending councils’ powers of compulsory purchase, where the land is in continuing breach of a Stop Notice.
• Tough new enforcement powers for councils and courts: Including larger fines to stop travellers from profiting from illegal development.
• Better guidance for police and councils: Replacing John Prescott’s new regulations which restrict the ability of the police and councils to take action.
• Greater say for local people: Opposing interference by regional bureaucrats and the imposition of crude quotas for new traveller camps.

Friday, 18 March 2005


Michael Howard has announced that a Conservative Government will review the Human Rights Act.
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised to ‘pass a Human Rights Act that incorporates the rules of the …[European Convention of Human Rights] directly into British law, and gives citizens the right to enforce those rules in court' (City Hall, Cardiff, 15 July 1994).
Mr Blair introduced the Human Rights Act in 1998 but instead of protecting British citizens’ rights and ensuring the
Government plays fair, it has fuelled a compensation culture based on political correctness.
• A convicted rapist won four thousand pounds worth of compensation because his second appeal was delayed (European Court of Human Rights, 17 July 2003).
• A boy expelled after lighting a fire at school had the decision overturned after judges ruled that he had been denied his ‘right to education’ (Court of Appeal, 29 March 2004).
• Edinburgh Council banned the filming of nativity plays because it feared that the Act meant every parent had to give written consent (December 2002).
• The Act gave the burglar who broke into Norfolk farmer Tony Martin’s house legal aid to sue Mr Martin for compensation (Nottingham County Court, 13 June 2003).
• The Act has allowed failed asylum seekers to remain in Britain even though they are not genuine refugees (Sunday Express, 7 April 2002).
• When Mr Blair tried to erode trial by jury it was the House of Lords, not the Human Rights Act, which saved it.
• When Mr Blair recently tried to abolish habeas corpus and give the Home Secretary the right to imprison people without trial, the Human Rights Act could not be invoked to stop him.
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats want to give more power to unaccountable European judges. They support the European Constitution and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights which will only make the problems of the Human Rights Act worse.
What will Conservatives do?
The most basic human rights are individual freedom and an absolute assurance that the Government will play fair.
Fairness is the heart of good government. We should all have to play by the same rules – whatever the colour of our skin, whatever our sex, whatever our religion.
We will review the Human Rights Act to see if it can be improved so it protects these rights.
If it cannot be improved we will scrap it.


Mr Blair – the man who gave us the dodgy dossier, and whose Chancellor does not believe a word he says – is now not telling the truth about Conservative spending plans. After eight years in power, and just weeks before a general election, he thinks that he can get away with this again. He can’t.
Conservative plans are fully costed and fully funded. We will spend the same as Labour on schools, hospitals, transport and aid, and slightly more than Labour on pensions, defence and police. We want give taxpayers value for money and focus on what matters to them.
The only thing we will cut is waste. We are making modest savings of 2p in the pound, which means we can pay back Government debt and lower taxes.
The simple fact is that Mr Blair is trying to distract attention from the fact that he’s spending and borrowing so much that he would have to put up taxes if he won again.
The choice at the election is very clear. Value for money and lower taxes with the Conservatives, or more waste and higher taxes under Mr Blair.

Our Value for Money Action Plan
• We will invest in people’s priorities, spending the same as Labour on the NHS, schools, transport and international development.
• We will spend more than Labour on police, pensions and defence – and give more help to pensioners with better pensions as well as up to £500 off their council tax bill of households where people are over 65.
• We’re able to spend more on what matters by cutting back Mr Blair’s wasteful bureaucracy and
unnecessary government activity, including:
- 168 public bodies
- 235,000 bureaucratic posts
- the regional assemblies
- the new supreme court
- the small business service and
- the New Deal.

In the first two years, we’ll be saving £12 billion a year - just 2p in every pound the government
spends. In a civil service that is now the size of Sheffield, is Mr Blair really saying it isn’t possible
to make modest savings like this?
• Nothing in the Budget makes any difference to our tax and spending plans.
• We will implement all of the changes announced in this Budget including the payment to
pensioners, free bus travel and increasing stamp duty and inheritance tax thresholds.
• By spending £12 billion less, we will pay off the £8 billion of Mr Blair’s borrowing so we can avoid his next round of stealth taxes.
• The remaining £4 billion will be used to cut taxes in our very first Budget, including halving council tax for millions of pensioners, worth up to £500.
Will you cut spending by £35 billion?
No – that’s more propaganda from Mr Blair, the man who gave us the dodgy dossier. We will spend more on schools, hospitals, pensions and police, as we want give taxpayers value for money and focus on what matters to them. The only thing we will cut is waste. We are making modest savings of 2p in the pound, which we means we can pay back Government debt and have lower taxes.
But won’t you be cutting spending £35 billion by 2011-12?
No – that’s more propaganda from Mr Blair, the man who gave us the dodgy dossier. We will increase spending by 4 per cent a year each year more during the next parliament. If Labour are saying that they will spend even more than us, they need to come clean and say where the money will come from.

Friday, 11 March 2005

Local Tory Bloodbath ?

The much prophesied bloodbath following the announcement that John Marsh was standing down as leader of Rushmoor, has evaporated as quickly as it was created by Labour and Lib Dem councillors, who are desperate for another story to take the "heat" off them, and the light away from illuminating their abismal performance.

John Marsh has resigned as Leader not because of any "in fighting" or pressure as some wish you to believe. He has left office to serve the Borough with his wife as Deputy Mayor & Deputy Mayoress, and I hope as Mayor & Mayoress the year after. I want to applaud this move by John, who has taken the opportunity to work in an asignment that involves serving the Borough with his wife. The spouses of elected members are the forgotten hero's sometimes, while we as local polititians are taking credit, and busy working for local people. This must be especially true of the Leaders wife. I know Margaret has been a tower of strength to John as leader, and look forward to seeing them work together in this special role that enables politicians to work along side instead of in front of their spouses. Well done John

The Leader elect was nominated and supported unchallenged. Peter Moyle has served with John as Deputy Leader since John Marsh's appointment as Leader, and has carried out that role with great enthusiasm and dedication. Peter was unapposed which gives you an idea of the respect he has within our group. Congratulations Peter. We look forward to you building on the good work John Marsh has done in the face of intolerable constraints put in our path by this Labour Government.

John & Margaret will take office as Deputy Mayor & Deputy Mayoress this May, when Peter Moyle will also officially take over as Council Leader

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Only in Britain...

… can a pizza get to your house faster than an Ambulance.

… do Supermarkets make the sick people walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

… do people order double cheeseburger, large fries and a Diet Coke.

… do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

… do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and put our junk and cheap lawn mower in the garage.

… do we buy hot dogs in packs of ten and buns in packs of eight.

… do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

… are there disabled parking places in front of a skating rink.

And did you know....

3 people die each year testing if a 9v battery works, on their tongue.

142 people were injured in 1998 by not removing all the pins from new shirts.

58 people are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers.

British hospitals reported 4 broken arms after cracker pulling accidents.

101 people since 1997 have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled from the soles of their feet.

18 Brits had serious burns in 1998 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

A massive 543 Brits were admitted to A&E in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth.

5 people were injured last year in accidents involving out of control Scalectrix cars.

In 1987 eight people cracked their skull whilst throwing up into the toilet.

Abolish Regional Quangos

I almost choked when I read the article about the defeat of the North East Assembly proposal in last weeks News by Alex Hamilton. Apart from the cheesy grin leering out of the article from the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, even I, a seasoned councillor familiar with the sanctimonious attitude, false promises and hypocrisy of local LibDems could not believe the Lib Dem PPC was welcoming a defeat that his whole party and especially his leader was falling over, and falling into bed with Labour to support.

Lib Dem Spokesman Don Foster stated clearly “no ifs, no buts, we back regional government” (Lib Dem Party Conference 2000). Obviously the only “but” (or should we say butt?) is the local Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.

The support of LibDems for the Regional Assembly has been a high profile affair, and widely reported. Professor John Tomaney, Chairman of Yes 4 the North East, said: “Charles Kennedy’s backing is significant as it shows that people and politicians in other parts of the country are realising the benefits that an elected regional assembly could bring to the North East.” Prime Minister Tony Blair and LibDem Leader Charles Kennedy felt it so important an issue they joined forces for a photo to try and win support for this white elephant.

Labour and Lib Dems reform of local Government has turned out like the reform of the House of Lords, a mess. The No campaign against a North East Regional Assembly was apposed by Labour and the Lib Dems and supported by the Conservatives who pointed out that another expensive tear of Government would not contribute one extra nurse or policeman and would lead to higher local taxes.

The people of the North East spoke, and the answer was deafening and clear. NO. Politicians now need to listen and take action.

The next action that needs to take place is for the unelected regional assemblies to be abolished. SEERA (South East England Regional Assembly) is a quango based in Guildford given power by Government to draw up 20 year regional plans for transport, housing, employment and environmental issues. Conservatives are demanding that these powers should be with elected local authorities.

However, I realize that an election is in the air, and this proves Lib Dems will do almost anything to get extra votes. Which reminds me, the LibDem parliamentary candidate will no doubt use his position on the Police Authority again soon, as he did last General election, to launch his election campaign by dragging reluctant and embarrassed senior police officers around the constituency claiming he wanted feed back from the public about how the police are performing. Please don’t bother this time…there are enough local councilors who actually live in the area and are more than capable of telling them ourselves thank you.