Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Pay and Display Madness

Right now I am trying to stop the invasion of pay and display (P&D) machines in one of our small and friendly car parks.

There is a mad plan to put P&D machines in the car park next to the Chemist on the clockhouse roundabout. This is a small car park used mostly by local residents to visit the Doctor, Dentist and Chemist. I am objecting for the following reasons.

1. Parents with small children and the elderly should not visit these local services and have to fumble around for change in order to park.
2. The machines will displace cars into residential areas which we are against - we have enough parking problems in these areas already.
3. This is a "backdoor" tax on residents.

Tell me your thoughts.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Gareth Lyon selected to fight Empress Ward

Gareth Lyon and local MP Gerald Howarth

Today at our Conservative Association AGM Gareth Lyon was officially adopted as our candidate to fight Empress Ward. Gareth is going to be a great member of the team. He was educated at Oxford, has worked in Parliament as a researcher, speaks French and Turkish, works for a large local company and lives in the Ward.
Has he any bad qualities I hear you all asking - just the one. He's not as good looking as Cllr Parker and myself. Although, I grant he is better looking than the MP Gerald Howarth. All of which will not stop him being a first class councillor for Farnborough.
Gareth is keen to see progress on the Town Centre, more facilities for young people and is keen to get to work with us to make Empress a great place to live.

What issues would you like to see Gareth getting involved with?

Monday, 17 March 2008

Tyre Slasher in Pierrefondes Avenue

Several vehicles had their tyres slashed in Pierrefondes Avenue on 14/3/08 sometime between 9am and 7pm. These vehicles were parked on the road but are residents of Pierrefondes Farnbrough
If anyone has any information that could assist the police Please either ring 08450454545 or inform your local neighbourhood watch coordinator.

US Democrat Governor Lamm Speech 2003

This has been as controversial in America as Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech here in Britain. According to his claims - we in Britain have gone a long way down his "road to destruction" already. Read it and tell me what you think.

Transcript of a Five-Minute Speech given in Washington, D. C. in 2004 by Richard D. Lamm Governor of Colorado, 1975 to 1987
I have a secret plan to destroy America. If you believe, as many do, that America is too smug, too white bread, too self-satisfied, too rich, lets destroy America. It is not that hard to do. History shows that nations are more fragile than their citizens think. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and they all fall, and that "an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide." here is my plan:

I. We must first make America a bilingual-bicultural country. History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. One scholar, Seymour Martin Lipset, put it this way:
The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon ---- all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with its Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.

II. I would then invent "multiculturalism" and encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal: that there are no cultural differences that are important. I would declare it an article of faith that the black and hispanic dropout rate is only due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out-of-bounds.

III. We can make the united states a "hispanic Quebec" without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently:
... the apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the mominance that once dictated ethnocentrically, and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together. I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with a salad bowl metaphor. It is important to insure that we have various cultural sub-groups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than Americans, emphasizing their similarities.

IV. Having done all this, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated — I would add a second underclass, un-assimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% drop out rate from school.

V. I would then get the big foundations and big business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of Victimology. I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was all the fault of the majority - I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.

VI. I would establish dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would "Celebrate diversity." "Diversity” is a wonderfully seductive word. It stresses differences rather than commonalities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other-that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse,” peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together, and we can take advantage of this myopia. Look at the ancient Greeks. Dorf ’s world history tells us:
The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the olympic games in honor of Zeus and all Greeks venerated the shrine of Apollo at Delphi. A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet, all of these bonds together were not strong enough to overcome two factors . . . (local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions . . .) If we can put the emphasis on the “pluribus,” instead of the “unum,” we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.

VII. Then I would place all these subjects off limits - make it taboo to talk about. I would find a word similar to “heretic” in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like “racist”, “xenophobe” that halts argument and conversation. Having made america a bilingual-bicultural country, having established multiculturalism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of “Victimology”, I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra - “that because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good.” I would make every individual immigrant sympatric and ignore the cumulative impact.

VIII. Lastly, I would censor Victor Davis Hanson’s book “Mexifornia.” This book is dangerous — it exposes my plan to destroy America. So please, please — if you feel that America deserves to be destroyed — please, please — don’t buy this book! This guy is on to my plan.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the Spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that Spectrum.” — Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US Media and Foreign Policy critic.

A great company to work for.

My thanks again to the resident that sent this into me.
Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics?
  • 29 have been accused of spouse abuse
  • 7 have been arrested for fraud
  • 19 have been accused of writing bad cheques
  • 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
  • 3 have done time for assault
  • 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
  • 4 have been arrested on drug-related charges
  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
  • 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
  • 84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year

Which organisation is this?

It is the US Congress!! Seems they are getting similar flak to our House of Commons.

I must make it crystal clear that, despite the appalling press some members of parliament are getting, our MP Gerald Howarth is a fine upstanding member, and has my full support. I think Parliament needs scrutinising by an independent body and needs to change to represent a modern society. In local Government we have become accustom to change imposed from Parliament, which ironically is extremely slow to change and adapt. In this respect it could learn much from local Councils.

Common Sense has died. R.I.P.

My thanks to a resident who recently sent this to me, which will strike a cord with many of you.
Times Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense. 'Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, It's Not My Fault, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

St Patrick's Lunch

Had a wonderful lunch today to launch the 2008 campaign and raised £250 for our funds along with a chance for residents and councillors to talk about local issues. The big issue today was the parking charges being introduced in North Camp, and concern over the whole issue of parking in the Borough. This was of more concern than the increase in weekend flights at the airfield!!

Empress Conservative Councillors oppose in principle car parking charges where they are not absolutely necessary. We are concerned that businesses in fragile town centers can be adversly affected, because they discourages people visiting. We also know from experience that parking charges displace car parking into residential areas, and cause problems as a result.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Happy Birthday Lydia

My oldest daughter Lydia is 25 years old. Twenty five years ago today, I was so excited about becoming a father for the first time. I held this little person that I just fell in love with - and felt so sorry for her - having so many defective genes because of me!

She was beautiful, and I just could not put her down, and could not believe that something so beautiful could have come from me.

I called her ET, after the way she looked out from a towel wrapped round her (see below).

She never got used to my driving ....

Now she is big and married with a baby Megan and finally knows as a result just how much she is loved by us. Happy Birthday Lyd x

..... and here is Meggie Moo

TAG appeal for more flights at Farnborough allowed

A variation agreed by the Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly) and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears) of a Rushmoor planning condition allows increases in air movements at weekends from 2,500 to 5,000.

This supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspector after he held a public inquiry at the Council Offices in Spring last year.

It is important to note that the total number of air movements (take off and landings) permitted remains the same at 28,000 per year. But the number of movements allowed at weekends and bank holidays will double.

Details can be seen on the council web site
Note: I read with interest in the Evening Standard (Thurs 21st feb 2008) that despite have this restriction TAG has made pre tax profits on Farnborough Airport alone of £5.2 million in 2006, according to its latest accounts. This was a three fold increase on the previous year. Last year Farnborough overtook Luton to become the UK airport with the highest number of business-aircraft flights. They are currently turning away huge numbers of flights at weekends. The accounts list the net value of the airfield at £59 million. They house 46 corporate aircraft including £25 million jets that can fly non stop to the USA west coast.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Darling Budget - Winners and Losers

My impartial and simple summary of the budget. Cutting thru all the political non sense, also having lived in Scotland I am fluent in the language which is handy as the last two chancellors and most of our cabinet are Scots.

Losers first - the usual suspects:

1. Smokers: Cigarettes up 11p a packet (no surprise as the budget was on National No Smoking Day)

2. Drinkers: Wine up 14p a bottle, spirits up 55p a bottle, and 4p on a pint of beer. It also announced a 2% above inflation increase on alcohol duty for the next 4 years. Sobbering!!

3. Car Drivers: Chelsea Tractors and eco unfriendly cars are targeted with a major reform to the vehicle excise duty in order to reduce carbon emmissions - some claim this to be a green envy tax more than a green environental tax. From 2009, the lowest carbon polluting cars will pay no road tax in the first year, and as this has to be paid for, there will be a new higher rate for the highest carbon polluting cars. Fuel tax will rise by 5p per litre, and funding is planned for a road pricing project to tackle conjestion. He did mumble on about posponing a 2p rise in fuel tax from April to October (6 months) ... thank you Alistair. Remember that he has had an awful lot of extra tax recently due to the record high levels of fuel anyway. A cannie boy.

Winners - no surprises

1. Pensioners: Increase in Winter Fuel Allowance by £50 for the over 60's (£200 to £250), and over 80's get an increase of £100 (£300 to £400) Generous as this seems, pensioner lobby groups have called for more because of the huge hikes in charges by the energy companies. In fairness the Chancellor did say he wanted to see better pricing from energy companies for the most vulnerable - but did not back it up with any action.

2. Families claiming benefit: From October 2009, families on benefit will be better off working, becaused of planned changes to the eligibility standards for council tax and housing benefit. He also announced an increase in child benefit to £20 a week from April 2009, with an extra £17 a week for poor families with one child.

3. Savers with low incomes: The Treasury pilot scheme of "Savings Gateways" which assist people who have not been able to save because of their very low incomes will be expanded nationally in 2010. In this scheme the Government will match fund what low income savers manage to save.

4. Gift Aid: The Government will maintain Gift Aid at 22% in April, despite the fact that the Basic Rate of tax will fall to 20% (announced last year).

5. Key public sector workers: those who buy Government supported 'affordable' housing schemes will not pay Stamp Duty until they own 80% of their home. This will be very few people. Shame he did not help the millions of first time buyers, who thanks to the Northern Rock disaster have much tougher lending criteria.

.... most of you reading this blog!!

The Budget will leave many council leaders scratching their heads over how to deliver better services with less money, according to the Local Government Association. Its chairman, Sir Simon Milton, welcomed the announcements of more money to deal with child poverty and the focus on green issues, but he said Alistair Darling had given little to local authorities.

Sir Simon said, “At first look, the Budget gives little relief to town halls struggling to balance the books. Many council leaders will be scratching their heads as they try to work out how they will deliver ever better services for local people with less money than in recent years and with greater demands on services.”

Responding specifically to the Chancellor’s announcement on sites for 70,000 new homes, Sir Simon said local authorities needed assurances that enough money would be made available for the roads, schools and hospitals that would be needed to ensure the new developments were places where people wanted to live rather than desolate dormitories.

The Association’s vice-chair, Sir Jeremy Beecham, said the measures to reform Council Tax benefit would be an important step towards targets on child poverty but more needed to be done, given that 1.8 billion pounds of the benefit goes unclaimed each year. “This is a positive move, but there are further proposals that councils could work with the government on to improve take-up,” Sir Jeremy added.

In the wake of Mr. Darling’s moves to encourage energy companies to reduce tariffs, the LGA also repeated its call for every home in the country to be insulated as a way of dealing with fuel poverty. Councillor Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, said power companies were making eye-watering profits at the expense of families.

Finally the LGA supported the announcement of new funding for the development of road pricing technology but said pricing could not be considered in isolation. Its Transport spokesman, Councillor David Sparks said ministers had to loosen their grip and devolve transport funding and powers to local authorities.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Ward walking

Today I went out again walking round the ward, discussing issues etc with fellow councillor Brian Parker, but this time we took our new prospective candidate for Empress - Gareth Lyon.

Youth strike at Recreation Centre

Saturday I went to visit the Farnborough Youth Bowling Team that meet each Saturday morning at Farnborough Recreation Centre. They have about 30 young people in the club up to the age of 18yrs and are doing well. Contact me if you want to know more about them.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

A boys must see race

Campaigning against MegaShed in Pystock

A few weeks ago I joined an action group SPLAT (Stop Pyestock bLot Act today) protesting in Fleet against the building of huge MegaSheds in Pystock right on the border with Farnborough. This building will bring 1000's of HGV's to the area, and congest junction 4a of the M3. The application has been made by PRUPIM ( an indirect subsidiary of Prudential, and will be a massive distribution warehouse. Local MP's and Councillors have also criticised the company for using their huge corporate resources to "flood" Hart District Council with multiple applications a very unethical tactic to bankrupt the time limit the Government imposes to determine applications.
In the picture above I am joined by fellow Farnborough Councillors Alan Cheyne, Martin Tennant, Brian Parker, Peter Moyle (Council Leader) and Mark Staplehurst.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Budget Task Group Meeting

Tonight the budget task group met to discuss how the Council budget process can be more open to councillors input and scrutiny. The budget process was reviewed and we made some suggestions with regard to timing, as many of us felt we were given the budget to comment on far too late in the process. We also discussed the way the budget is presented. For many members it is almost like a foreign language, and some suggestions were made regarding a better way of presenting the figures and options.
We discussed the complexxity of local government finance, and how the Council is a unique organisation in that it provides over 100 different services from collecting money to collecting rubbish. Some services are statutory - we provide them by law, while others are discretionary - we choose to provide them as a public service. It was agreed that this distinction should be clearer in the presentation of the budget.
It was a very productive meeting with all the different political parties in Rushmoor working together as they often do in a small group, in this case 5 councillors and one senior council official.

A Flying Lesson at Blackbush