Friday, 29 January 2010

Back to School...

It was great to meet up yesterday with my school mates. We are now into the last term of the year and studying research techniques and contemporary issues in public management. This is where I have to study thinking about what I am going to write my dissertation on.
So suggestions from residents on a post card please.
The following is a list I have just put together to get some thoughts working. I have divided it into three broad areas of public service management. I need to pick one that will be useful and interesting and worth pursuing.
Democracy / Community Leadership:
1. Improving community involvement and engagement. Do we need to do more?
2. Types of representation and roles. Do we have too many councillors?
3. Value and benefit of elected member training. Is it a waste of money?
4. Relationships between power and responsibility. Who has too much?
5. Partnership working, joined up government services. Is it working?
6. Are we well represented? Is gender and race still an issue?
7. Are a small neglected minority of families being dealt with effectively to improve quality of life for the majority of residents? Joined up government to deal with social problems in the community - is it working?
Service Delivery:
1. Public versus Private Managers practices. Are private managers better?
2. Statutory and descretionary services. Should we save money and abolish discretionary services?
3. Utilising, managing and working with volunteers and the third sector. Have we got the balance right?
4. Local Area agreements - are they effective in improving services
5. Accessing services for special groups, and tailoring services. Are services 'one size fits all'?
6. Privatisation and partnerships in delivery of services it may save money, but does it deliver?
Policy and Regulation
1. Impact of EU and how we feed back to improve policy. (abt 70% of EU policy ends up delivered by local government) Are we imputing into new policy or simply an EU lap dog?
2. Performance indicators - are they working?
3. Delegated power - where has all the power gone? Who is in control?
4. Organisation types, two teir (Borough/County) /unitary - could Rushmoor (Boroughs) provide all local authority services independently?
The dissertation needs to include research. Not so easy is it!!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

From my MEP mate Daniel

Happy New Year from Strasbourg

If you are rushing to complete your tax return, don't read this:

Nor are Eurocrats content with tax-free incomes. At a time when national civil servants are struggling to reduce costs, they are about to enjoy a handsome pay-rise:

Meanwhile, at home, Labour has surely proved, to the meanest intelligence, its utter unfitness for office:

And its leader is consoling himself with a rather frightening poem:

We learned that you can be sued for clearing the pavement outside your house:

And, in further evidence of our health-and-safety obsession, that Labour had squandered squillions on otiose swine 'flu vaccines:

I don't want to end on a gloomy note. So, to cheer yourself up, have a look at the politician with the funniest name in Europe:

Best wishes,

Daniel Hannan

Monday, 18 January 2010

Weekend with Iza

Spent the weekend with my new grandaughter Izabelle Faye Clifford-Smith. She found it all terribly dull meeting the relatives, but we loved playing 'pass the parcel' with her. We are so thrilled to have this new little soul join us (even if it is yet another girl!!).

Megan spent the time on her latest pass time - doing puzzles - with NO help

Nanny with Izabelle feeding as usual

Mum with Izabelle - after fighting Izabelle off everyone else

Ugly with Izabelle - luckily she did not wake up while this close! I actually think she was awake but thought it wise to keep her eyes closed

Empress Ward Police Beat Surgeries

Beat Surgeries – 2010

19th January 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) – T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

10th February 2010 ( 1830 – 1930 ) - Centre Cafe
Farnborough Leisure Centre
Westmead, Farnborough.

16th March 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) – T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

28th April 2010 ( 1830 – 1930 ) - Centre Cafe
Farnborough Leisure Centre
Westmead, Farnborough.

11th May 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) – T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

14th June 2010 ( 1830 – 1930 ) - Centre Cafe
Farnborough Leisure Centre
Westmead, Farnborough.

6th July 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) - T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

18th August 2010 ( 1830 – 1930 ) - Centre Cafe
Farnborough Leisure Centre
Westmead, Farnborough.

21st September 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) - T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

19th October 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) – T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

17th November 2010 ( 1830 – 1930 ) - Centre Cafe
Farnborough Leisure Centre
Westmead, Farnborough.

14th December 2010 ( 1500 – 1600 ) – T@3
St Peters Church Hall
Church Avenue, Farnborough.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Red Friday - a very good idea

I saw this and thought what a great idea....


Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday.
The reason?
British men and women who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'.
We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for country and home in record breaking numbers.

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.
We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.

Many English people, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Britain supports our troops.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every Briton who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Great Britain on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football team

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, It will not be long before Britain is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...'We need your support and your prayers'...

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A warm welcome to baby Izabelle

A very warm welcome to my new grandaughter Izabelle Faye Clifford-Smith who decided to join us yesterday. I cannot wait to see her this Friday, and give her and her mum a big hug. I have just visited a good friend this week who is about to leave us, and so it is especially wonderful to welcome Iza who reminds me that the great and fragile cycle of life continues, and as I say goodbye to one soul, my life is blessed with the arrival of another.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

David's New Year Speech

Happy New Year
A terrific start to the year with my leader setting the pace and agenda for the overdue general election that we need to unseat the unelected prime minister Brown. Nice chap I'm sure and should be running a quiet parish somewhere rather than the world, opps I mean country.

A few key highlights from David Cameron's speech:

"We can’t go on with Labour's bureaucracy, running everything from Whitehall, denying people control over their lives and undermining the professionals in our public services."

"..and we’ll be spelling out exactly what that will mean every day from now until polling day."

Economic Change.

We need change right across the board: tax, regulation, banking, infrastructure.
And that’s exactly what we're planning – from a cut in the main rate of corporation tax…
…to a new high-speed rail network…
…to the creation of 100,000 apprenticeships.
If we win this year's election Britain will be under new economic management.
We will send out the loudest signal that this country is back open for business and ready for investment.
Decline is not inevitable. Confidence can return.
If we take action now – to get a grip on the public finances and unleash enterprise – Britain can have a bright economic future.

Social Change

Strengthening families with practical and financial help to give parents time with their children and keep couples together.
We will fight back against the root causes of deprivation – drug addiction, alcoholism, indebtedness, failing prisons

We will provide new opportunities for community groups, neighbourhood organisations, charities, social enterprises to help rebuild our civil society.
We will create incentives and use the best technology to encourage and enable people to come together, solve their problems together, make this society stronger together.
As we do this we will redistribute power from the political elite to the man and woman in the street.
Within months of a Conservative victory there would start the most radical decentralisation of power this country has seen for generations.
Government will enter a new era of transparency.
And a strong, unbroken line of democratic accountability will be restored between the people and those that make the decisions that affect their lives.

Political Change

We have argued for fiscal responsibility from day one of my leadership.
We have argued for social responsibility from day one of my leadership.
We have campaigned consistently to put the environment and civil liberties on the political agenda.
We have argued that difficult economic times are not an excuse to drop our commitment to the poorest in the world, but to reaffirm that commitment.
When the expenses scandal broke, we were the first to pay money back, first to publish our expenses online and first to commit to cutting the cost of politics.
And over the past four years, we have always tried to work with other parties rather than looking for political dividing lines where none exist.
We backed Tony Blair’s school reforms and renewing Trident even though on both occasions we could have inflicted a damaging defeat on the Government.
And we worked with the Liberal Democrats to get justice for the Gurkhas.

In that spirit of unity, of a greater purpose than the simple pursuit of politics, I have an announcement to make.
We have said that from day one of a future Conservative Government, a national security council, with the key ministers and defence chiefs, will sit as a war cabinet.
And I can announce today that if we win this year's election, I will invite leaders of the main opposition parties to attend the war cabinet on a regular basis so they can offer their advice and insights.
When a nation is at war, it needs to pull together


Our plans are not timid – but the truth is they can’t be.
The problems of today demand more.
They demand real change – and that can’t come soon enough.
We can't go on like this. We need change to get the country back on its feet.
A better NHS; an aspirational economy; a big society; a new politics.
We have a four year track record of delivering change in our party.
Now we are impatient to change our country.
We are determined to make a difference.
We are all in this together, and we know that if we all pull together then this country can have great hope for the future.
So let's face this new year with confidence, optimism and hope.
And let's make 2010 the year for change.