Sunday, December 31, 2006
2006 was a very eventful year - in terms of national politics, my own political experiences here in Norwich and for my family. I wonder what 2007 will hold?
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The LibDems are the party who desperately need a sherry-fueled episode to mask their dismal 2006 - a year in which they have dumped a leader and end up rock bottom in the polls. Yet their website - here - seems to have totally ignored Christmas altogether. There is one story about the number of people eating turkey on their own this year but precious little else. You will be aware that I feel the national LibDem website is awful when compared to some really rather better local efforts, but this really is rather poor. Festive rating: 1/10
I am greeted at Labour's site - here - by a pop-up which asks me to join the party so I can vote for the new leader. I wasn't aware that Blair had resigned, but hey-ho. The frontpage has a lovely big festive message that offers us "best wishes for Christmas and the New Year". There is also a flashing graphic of Christmas tree lights that then displays an achievment of the current government. Pretty good, fitting with the current party image, contemporary design. Festive rating: 7/10
Is Christmas too traditional for the modernisers at Cameron's Conservatives? Hardly as their site - here - includes a very flashy graphic which shows snow falling over the hill sides which are littered with Christmas trees. It is a shame that where you would normally expect a message to pop up (like "Merry Christmas") it doesn't and you end watching the graphic waiting for something to happen which then doesn't. A bit disappointing but it is the most technical of all the sites and, somewhat ironically, the most traditional. Festive rating: 7/10
Oddly there is no festive message on any of the sites from any of the party leaders - the Conservatives lead on Labour Chairwoman Hazel Blears challenging her own party's health policy, whilst the LibDems stick to a story about Iraq and Labour advertise their programme of Spring Events.
Come on parties - let's have a bit of Christmas cheer about you all!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Merry Christmas everyone and may tomorrow be as wonderful as you dreamed it would be.
For a party that stands for "winning here" and being the "growing party", such a rebuff to the dynamic leadership of Sir Ming must be hard to take.
Seriously though my little LibDem chums - calm down, take stock, this is one poll so don't panic. If a 6 or 12 month trend shows you in the 15-18% box you can panic then, but not now.
Friday, December 22, 2006
1. Created life - bringing Olivia into our world.
2. My first act as Councillor was to get a family in which the Mum was severely disabled re-housed from a totally unsuitable property in Clover Hill into a purpose built DDA access bungalow.
3. Proved that Conservatives can win in council estate areas ... if we campaign right, work hard enough and prove ourselves to local people.
4. Achieve the best value-added score in our department (again).
5. Change my first fuse on a plug (unbelievably so)
6. Buy a Family ticket to Wroxham Barns.
7. Set up and run the first Government & Politics course in Notre Dame.
I am now tagging Linden Parker, Iain Lindley, Antonia Bance, Gavin Ayling, Norfolk Blogger, James Cleverly and Ali Miraj.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Labour have, for quite some time now, plodding along ignoring the Greens whilst our eco-friends destroyed the LibDem vote and stole their seats. Labour are in power in City Hall now because the Greens have won over a lot of traditional LibDem areas. So for Mr Clarke to bite back like this is quite remarkable - maybe a few jitters over the next parliamentary election but far more likely is that political heavyweight Mr Clarke is fed up of the Greens being allowed to get away with peddling any old nonsense without being held to account.
The Greens now hold 9 out of 39 council seats and, if experts and polls prove to be correct, they will at least hold onto those and maybe even grow again in 2007. They are a major political force in Norwich (at least) and we should scrutinise what they have to say. I know that the LibDems find it hard to attack the Greens, so maybe this Clarke letter is the start of a Labour offensive against City Hall's third party?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Money. Labour doesn't have it and neither, to be totally honest, do the other parties. Labour would have to be fund raising much faster (and selecting PPCs too, but that is another matter) than they are at the moment to fill the finanical gap. I have always argued that Brown's best chance is by using the post-Blair bounce that is bound to happen - but a few housekeeping realities may stop that from happening.
Party finances need stability - and that is why all parties run in four year cycles. The bureaucracy loves regularity and snap polls could give a few party accountants heart attacks (on all sides). As money and finance become a bigger and bigger part of each subsequent election campaign the choosing of the date is more a question for the Treasurer than the Prime Minister.
The money men would much rather have fixed term parliaments and, I have to say, that is where my thinking is taking me too.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Yesterday we went to the Toddlers Christmas Party at St. Albans Church Hall and it was absolutely brilliant. Today we went to Louise's baby club lunch and I finally got to meet some of Emily's friends. Between going out for lunch, changing library books and obsession about advent calendars the day has flown by - and I admit that I have loved every moment.
My two observations for the day are...
1. No wonder sometimes Louise (and other Mums) get little done around the house - playing is far more fun and the washing can (and does) wait.
2. How long is takes to do everything. Even a wander down to Tesco Express take a lifetime when you stop to look at every dog / flower / Christmas decoration on the way.
Louise remarked of me today that I have been much more hands on with Olivia and Emily now than I was when Emily was born. Am I more confident, a bit older and wiser or do I just realise how fast they grow up and how each moment is precious? Even Olivia's nappies seem a treat to me...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Following a mad dash from Drayton to Trafford Road, the in-laws bravely came round to ensure that the child we already had was safe and sound, whilst Lou and I trundled off to the N&N.
Apparently most women worry about going to hospital in case they aren't really in labour and end up wasting people's time. We were determined not to be those kind of paranoid parents who think that the first twinge is the onset of labour and launch themselves at every passing medical practioner. This could, after all, be the start of many days of unpleasantness and we wouldn't want to block our maternity system. However by the time that Louise had to use the doorframe for support, we thought it best to seek some professional advice.
By 2am we were at the hospital and a lovely midwife called Sue confirmed that Louise was, despite Daddy's best attempts to block this from his mind, having a baby. No need to go home or feel ashamed at wasting precious NHS resources, this was the real thing (copyright, Coca Cola).
Things slowed down between 3am and 8am during which time I was seriously considering some kind of breakfast. Louise, on the other hand, seemed rather more in a hurry than I and decided to get a move on. The poor, unfortunate (but rather good) trainee midwife got the shock of her life when Louise's contractions went on some kind of turbo-charge and by 10.15am the baby was ready to be born. Cue lots of plastic things, a gaggle of women in the room and pain so bad that Louise actually bit the end of the gas'n'air tube off.
10.26am and baby Olivia Grace Little came into the world - much quicker, certainly easier but with the same amount of love as her big sister Emily.
Admittedly, she had a sort of Lord-of-the-Rings Orc like quality, but after a wash and brush up she looks just like Emily, beautiful - although slightly smaller at just 6lb 7oz.
Louise and Olivia were allowed to come home by 5pm and here we have snuggled ever since. Emily is loving her "bubba" almost as much as she loves her advent calendar ... but not quite.
Olivia is going what all good babies should - eating, sleeping and being cuddled. I am very proud of our latest addition, but most of all Louise - who after the trauma of last time took all this in her stride (and, for the record, got through the whole labour without resorting to Thundercats Impressions - unlike last time.)
I will post photos when I get them but in the meantime do excuse my sparadoic posts and general inactivity. I have a baby to love.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So when Norwich City Council had a chance to vote on a referendum on Unitary, the single biggest issue facing the council, which political party voted against?
Mr Clarke's very own Labour Party.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
It started when a member of the public, one Brenda Lock, said that the council didn't care about Heathgate Community Centre because it wasn't in Mile Cross and that's where all the money went. A startled reaction from Councillors and the public. Although Steve strongly denied this, it led to some further exchanges later in the evening. Green Leader Adrian Ramsay concurred that a lot of money was spent in Mile Cross, because it was a tough Lib-Lab battleground seat, and LibDem Councillor for Mile Cross Carl Mayhew was also stirring the pot.
At the end of it I feel Steve looked a bit startled by all of this - more from the public than Councillor.
I wonder if it is true - a breakdown of total spending ward by ward would be interesting. Another member of the public told me afterwards that ift felt like all the money went to Eaton. An interesting perspective also.
It is natural to want the best for your ward. We all do it - fighting hard for our communities, sometimes knowing that other areas may suffer as a result. Although I believe Steve hasn't abused his position as Leader of the Council in favour of his ward, I think this line of attack may well come back time and time again.
The Executive Member for Community told me that the Neighbourhood Wardens are able to spot grafitti and reporting it directly to the council via their handheld technology - including taking photos. They have, apparently, had some success in working with the police to catch taggers. They also say that extended CCTV around Norwich will help. Finally they urged people to call 212112 to report any cases.
I then asked if the council believed that control of grafitti was an option - they said that they were providing constructive alternatives.
(And in case you care here are the other questions...)
Cllr Lubbock (LibDem, Eaton) asked if the Council would provide a small, individually wrapped chocolate to all employees who turned off their computer. The Labour Executive Member said the authority had a good record in saving power.
Cllr Collishaw (Con, Catton Grove) asked about the budgets for Dog Bins. Apparently dog bins are no longer provided and people should use normal waste bins.
Cllr Cannell (Lab, Lakenham) asked what progress the council had made since May. It was the most obvious brown-nosed question ever asked at Council and quite frankly both the asker and the answerer should be ashamed for wasting our time.
Cllr Sands (Lab, Sewell) asked why CityCare collected rubbish at 0615 and woke everyone up. The Executive Member, who is a Labour Councillor, said this shouldn't happen.
Cllr Hooke (LibDem, Thorpe Hamlet) asked if the law on cycling on pavements could be enforced. He was told to sod off and do it himself. In a polite manner, obviously.
Cllr Bearman (Green, Town Close) asked what is happening with the land at the corner of Leicester Street and Onley Street. It seemed to me that the council didn't know the answer.
Cllr Read (Green, Wensum) asked if more could be done to get people to Sparks in the Park via public transport. He was told that a lot of people did use the buses and that Green councillors should lighten up and cheer up a bit.
CLlr Llewellyn (Green, Wensum) asked if the bulky items collections were recycled. No.
Cllr Jago (Green, Mancroft) asked about the fence on Mile Cross Road. He was told that Norfolk County Council have the responsibility to sort it out.
Cllr Stepphenson (Green, Nelson) asked about energy saving plans for new homes. She got a lot-done-lots-to-do style answer.
Cllr Watkins (LibDem, Eaton) asked how much it cost to replace one pane of glass in a bus shelter. £313.12
Cllr Mayhew (LibDem, Mile Cross) asked about Eade Road / Patterson Road being made one way. The Council are thinking about it.
Cllr Divers (LibDem, Thorpe Hamlet) asked about traffic calming on Ketts Hill. There is no need, she was told.
The Conservatives are the only party with a 100% record since May's elections!
In 2002 Norwich City came 4th out of 7 districts - beating Broadland, Breckland and Great Yarmouth. Since then, all three Tory authorities have since jumped ahead of the Labour / LibDem run City Council, leaving Norwich trailing in last place - almost exactly where we were three years previously.
Tory run Broadland comes a clear first, followed by LibDem North Norfolk.
David Cameron has clearly grabbed the green agenda and these figures show why - time and time again it is Conservative Councils that are leading the way in such fields, whilst councils dominated by the left (as Norwich still is) do very badly. The Norwich Conservatives take this subject seriously, so why won't Labour and the LibDems?
They are all talk and no action - and on doorsteps, actions speak louder than words.
Trevor and I are honest friends - I think that is a really difficult seat and he has one hell of a fight ahead of him. Trevor needs to work 24/7 on this one, but I have total confidence in him to really take the fight to Lamb. Trevor has been very brave taking a seat like this on, after all he follows the class political act of Iain Dale, and I am sure that local people will warm to him. Trevor and Lisa are now planning their move 20 miles North!
Trevor is a great champion of the Conservative cause ... North Norfolk should be proud to have him!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Two girls took the role of Labour frontbencher and the Tory Leader of the Opposition. They not only made their own speeches but also took a barrage of interventions from backbenchers and from the other dispatch book. The two whips on either side took on the role of a cross between a cheerleader and a pitbull terrier.
The speeches were thoughful and based upon fact. It was interesting that Blair's fans took his record on crime and public services whilst those who opposed him concentrated on two key issues - Iraq and the NHS. The Labour supporters got rather annoyed by the constant Iraq references. Their frontbencher snapping from her seat: "Don't you lot have anything else to talk about?".
The opposition wanted to stick to Iraq, Labour wanted to move on ... more like real life than you'd imagine.
They soon got snappy as fellow MPs tried to put them off their stride and kept trying to refocus the debate to their point. Just like parliament!
Really this was the best I've seen in many years of teaching and I am now determined to work with these kids and, who knows, ending up at the National Parliamentary Debating Competition?
Best line: Labour whip: "I bet you Tories wish you hadn't had thrown all those mentally ill people onto the streets during your time in power - look, they've all ended up on your frontbench!"
Strangest point to make: Tory Leader: "20,000 years ago there were a fewer people than there are today."
Most disagreements: Labour and Tory frontbenchers: Has crime fallen or risen since 1997? Everyone had statistics to prove their point.
Councillor Little, who stood against Mr Clarke in 2005, added: "With the LibDems losing council seats across Norwich and the Conservatives winning again, it is clear that only the Conservatives can beat Labour here in Norwich South."
"If people want to pass judgement on Mr Clarke's lamentable record as our local MP, or on Mr Blair's wasted 10 years in power when taxes have risen but services continue to suffer, they should do so at the ballot box by supporting the Conservatives and David Cameron's message of change, optimism and hope."
"The next election is already looking very interesting."
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Presentation on Peak Oil
Lord Mayor’s Announcements
Presentation of Long Service Awards
Declarations of Interes
Questions to Exec Members
Proposed Vision Strategy for Norwich and the Council’s short term objectives (these focus on CCTV, wardens and the environment)
Capital Programme changes
Gambling Act response
Motion – Cllr Morphew on First Buses
Motion – Cllr Holmes on Climate Change
Motion – Cllr Morphew on Growth Point Status.
Enquiries, question and thought (as ever) appreciated.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The city's street furniture and many of our suburban areas suffer from a lot of grafitti, including much by a few graffiti gangs. Does the council believe grafitti is a symptom, measure and further encouragement of Anti Social Behaviour? Can the Executive Member tell us what the council can do to help crack down on grafitti across the City, including any plans to speed up the removal of it?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
You can, of course, ask your own question at council by e-mailing it to email@example.com - you'll even get a supplementary question too! You need to be a resident of Norwich to do so and you'll have to turn up at the Council Meeting on the last Tuesday of the month to ask it. It is however your way of getting an answer straight from the horse's mouth!
Are the LibDems going to drop their opposition to Tesco ... or are they going to play it both ways again?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
But the Fakenham Councillor from North Norfolk fails to mention that the LibDems in Norwich are in favour of Unitary and voted for all this money (and much more) to be spent.
The LibDems are all over the place on this issue. Nich, who (shall we say) takes a lot of interest in Norwich and Broadland issues, demonstrates this in spades.
We know that Norwich LibDems are in favour and Broadland LibDems against. So will they campaign against themselves in 2007? We'll have to wait and see!
Then the public decide that they like Cameron more than Brown and Labour people of all shades get worried. They all start to back Brown to try and brow-beat Cameron down. The party suddenly becomes very united and all and sundry say Brown will win by default. Hence Blears saying that Blair will back Brown today.
So what happens now? An unchallenged Brown leadership? No. When Labour feel they've been ghastly to Cameron enough and nearer the time of Blair's departure, all these people who have been nice to Brown will suddenly turn again.
Expect a contest between Brown, Reid, Johnson and McDonnell.
However, when you read the small print the story becomes very different. The figure that struck me was that 88% of people who responded said they knew little or nothing about the issue! Shouldn't the council be spending money educating and informing people about this rather than commissioning dodgy surveys?
In fact the survey, with all of its inherent bias, came out 41-25 in favour. But if 88% don't know about the issue, how can we even trust or believe that result?
Answer: we can't. But Unitary is now hanging by a thread and Labour are willing to cling to any straw they can.
Major tree works are planned to a number of tree belts in Bowthorpe this winter. The belts in which we are set to carry out work include:
· Rawley Road to Cloverhill Road
· Rawley Road to Beloe Ave
· Joe Ellis Ct
· Wendene (Both sides including areas covered by Braithwaite Close and Anwick Ct)
· Tippett Close
· Chapelbreak Road oppersite Astley Road
· Rear off Edrich way / The Columbine
Bowthorpe Cycle Way (Inc Stylman Road)
Chapel Break Centre
The work, scheduled to start later this month, will involve both thinning and coppicing operations. Thinning is the removal of selected trees to relieve overcrowding and to allow for the future growth of remaining specimens. Coppicing is the process of cutting back woody plants close to ground level and allowing the stumps to re-grow. The overall result will be more open, lighter, less oppressive tree belts that are more encouraging for wildlife, and safer, healthier individual trees.
Well Done Norwich City Council!
It will make a powerful statament if we can make a unified stance on this - and I'm also glad that the BCP agreed to front this. A local man from Three Score is taking the lead and Councillors will be pleased to support him.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Sitting Councillor Eve Collishaw will fight for Catton Grove again
Long-time resident and campaigner John Wyatt will build on his best result in Town Close for many years
Popular local resident Vic Hopes goes for Eaton after halving the LibDem majority last time.
Campaigner Niall Baxter heads for success in Wensum Ward...
Also UEA student Kristofer Wilson is standing in University Ward and Carrie Chandler is selected in Mancroft. Lakenham, Nelson and Thorpe Hamlet members will decide on their candidates in the next few weeks.
Antony - the way in which you have handled this rejection shows what an asset you are to the party. Coming from the NE I had never really heard of you but after reading CH.com I googled you to see what your story was. You are clearly a dedicated campaigner who has spent his life promoting the Tory cause. We need people like you ... stick to the rules of the party, work hard and you'll get there. I promise.
and in contrast...
Like you Antony I am white, middle class, middle aged, happily married, able bodied and have been a hard working member of this party for many, many years. I am not on the AList and am not allowed to apply for local seats either because of the awkward nature of CCHQ. I spend my free time helping to run an association and run campaigns. Why is Dave Cameron asking so much of me with so little in return? I work for the party but the party doesn't work for me. You ask what you should do - leave them to it. Enjoy your kids for a few years and come back when sanity returns to the asylum that is CCHQ. You don't need this in your life if you don't get anything in return. Not so many years ago hard working meant something in our party. Now it's "what you are" rather than "what you do". Sorry to be so negative but so many of us feel this way.
I hope those people will continue to check back in the future. If you want me to add a link to your site, just get in touch.
Friday, November 10, 2006
However, this certainly has to make me think about the future. You see, as I'm white, middle class, a male, happily married, able bodied and not a celebrity (this blog not withstanding) then I am nowhere near being on the Priority List and hence unable to apply for seats around the country.
I could go on and on about all the fabulous things I've done for the party - candidate, agent, local Chairman, Deputy Chairman, campaign co-ordinator, councillor and group leader. I could talk about how jolly unfair all this is and how I should be given the chance to fight a safe seat.
But the truth of the matter is I did all those things for the benefit of my communities, my country and my party. All three are "bigger" than I am and I shall continue to furrow my ploughs for the Conservatives because I care about why I am doing this.
I, like fellow local candidate Kay Mason, have no right to that seat in the way no candidate has any right to any seat.
One day all this A List nonsense will be seen for what it is - and until then people like me must carry on, because politics matters at every level. Tonight was a shame, but it won't stop me saying loud and proud to everyone who'll listen:
I'm a Conservative. I'm proud of my party and I'm proud to be a Conservative. I back Cameron all the way to Downing Street. So come on board and let's change this country for the better.
So the results are almost in and, if as expected, the Democrats have indeed won the last two Senate races in Vermont and Montana then the Senate will be 49 R, 49 D and 2 I. Despite being crushed in this poll, the good thing for the GOP is that they will continue to hold the Senate. Why? Well the top two parties are tied and existing administration always holds on. Hence until the 2 Independents official defect then the Democrats will find themselves shut out. On a day-to-day basis they will vote with the Dems and Republicans will find themselves out-voted. R with the power but not the votes, D with the votes but not the power – American democracy.
And all this time the GOP says “we held the Senate”. Single to Wandsworth, anyone?
Monday, November 06, 2006
Thanks ... and fingers crossed.
During the dark days for the Tories in local government, one night the party was slaughtered across the country. However the party held a single council - Wandsworth - against the trend and that single council was proof that the Tories hadn't done badly after all. The Sun even exclaimed that Labour were "poll axed" because of their failure to take that single council.
Given the record of the GOP party machine in winning elections, I wouldn't bet against them holding the Senate and even stemming the losses in the House. But I wonder if they manage to hold an unexpected state if their spin doctors could somehow claim victory from the jaws of defeat? More on this tomorrow...
These people can leave their apologies in the comments section - though I won't hold my breath.
ONLY the Norwich Conservatives oppose this madness.
I am a strong believer in respect for such positions. Usually I would say that I wouldn't care if a coatstand was elected Speaker - I'd still respect them. But I feel I cannot say that with Speaker Martin.
His outrageous "saving" of Blair at PMQs this week was both totally pointless (in fact Tony got himself out of the situation rather well this week) but also badly handled. Clever Cameron won't make an official complainy but if Tory MPs do either stage a walkout or not listen to him, then what remains of his credibility will crumble. You see whilst Tories make up a significant minority of the Commons, losing the trust of a section of the House could be damaging.
The ever-reliable Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that Speaker Martin only wants 2 things in political life. To out-do Boothroyd in terms of years as Speaker and to ensure that his son, Paul Martin, inherits his Glasgow parliamentary seat.
Unless he kisses and makes up with the Tories, he'll achieve neither.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
All because Emily is at Nana and Grandad's probably having the time of her life away from the parents. Yesterday was a bit of a day for us ...
... the morning we drove to Great Yarmouth and enjoyed a walked along the front looking at the new development there. Emily came with us and rather predictably wanted to collect stones off the beach. Then after we dropped off the babe I went on the first leg of a friend's stag-do (an hour late, tut, tut). As if life couldn't get better we then saw the matinee of Buddy at the Theatre Royal - the last day of the run here in Norwich but you gotta see it at some point! Absolutely fantastic. We then walked into the City and went to the Earlham Park fireworks display. Great fireworks, but who ever was in charge of the music should be waking up with a hangover this morning ... it all went dead half way through!
Anyway, we're off out for breakfast and then off to collect our little one.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
And all this comes from a centre-left think tank!
UPDATE: BBC reporter said that next week's report on what to do about this won't suggest the normal idea of setting up a youth club! It will suggest that far from spending more time away from home, these kids need to be with their parents or other adults.
Eaton Skatepark (Cllr Lubbock, LibDem for Eaton)
Yellow Lines in Three Score (Cllr Little, Conservative for Bowthorpe)
Waiting Restrictions on Woodcock Road (Cllr Collishaw, Conservative for Catton Grove)
Safety on Magdalen Road (Cllr Divers, LibDem for Thorpe Hamlet)
East-West Rail Link (Cllr Couzens, LibDem for Eaton)
City Hall use of recycled paper (Cllr Stephenson, Green for Nelson)
Allotment waiting lists (Cllr Llewellyn, Green for Wensum)
Clarence Harbour site (Cllr Gledhill, Green for Nelson)
Future of Heathgate (Cllr Jago, Green for Mancroft)
Sale of Mariners Lane Car Park (Cllr Altman, Green for Mancroft)
Nottingham Declaration (Cllr Read, Green for Wensum)
Recycling plastics (Cllr Ramsay, Green for Nelson)
Car Parking (Cllr Holmes, Green for Wensum)
If you want to know the answers please just let me know.
On putting £150k into the Unitary bid it was carried 34-2 (only Conservatives opposing it).
On the Tree Strategy it wa scarried 27-0 with 9 abstentions (The Green Party)
The Packagaing and Waste motion was referred to the Waste Working Group by 27-9 (Greens opposing, all others in favour)
Educational Attainment was carried 34-0 with 2 abstentions (Conservatives)
The Green Party frontbencher speaking on Transport Issues said this last night:
"Councillor Little spends a long time telling us why he is against Unitary. I'll tell you in two words why I'm for it ... Westlegate pedestrianisation."
He then went on to say that this was his only reason (not that, ONLY) why he was in favour of unitary.
You could say that Cllr Read was willing to financially screw the City and its residents and destroy local services over a piece of road.
Or you could say that he can't cope with the complexity of the issue.
Either way, his contribution did his party no good.
UPDATE: Thanks to an e-mailing friend who points out that Green County Councillors vote on issues that only effect county areas, like Cromer, Great Yarmouth or Diss. If they believe so strongly in the unitary principle will all Green - and Labour and LibDem Councillors - promise to abstain on issues that don't affect the City? Don't hold your breath.
They are going to measure traffic flow after the development has finished and see if there is need because BB Way is part of an important bus route ... short term bad news but long term good news I think!
Anyway it is just good to get a firm answer (for once).
Their opposition to my referendum on Norwich's Unitary bid was a bizarre act of political opportunism. A typical Cooke attack of me was launched and the vote was lost. I questioned at the time why the party that was most committed to the use of these votes was against the plans. I never got a reply but it seems obvious now that they would never hand me the political victory.
Anyway, it has been bought to my attention that Andrew Stunnell MP, LibDem Communities Spokesman and political giant, has now declared:
"When it comes to changing democratic accountability in an area, I think there's a good argument for a referendum"
Great news, I look forward to Cllr Cooke's support when I bring this issue back to Council!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I knew Labour would win this one ... the perenial rebels have isolated themselves and the middle ranking trouble makers haven't got the guts to rebel when they should do. And do remember that there are still hundreds of clones on the Labour side ready to do Blair and Brown's bidding.
So next time you hear the inevitable phrase "government set to lose" ... just calm down and think it'll never happen. Not because of the Labour whips, but because the hearts of Labour MPs aren't in ousting Blair (yet).
"This motion bought before the House" - for House, read Council Chamber
"What is written down here on the order paper" - for order paper, read council agenda
A few of us in that council want to be MPs, but pretending you are is going a bit far!
p.s. Interesting that outgoing LibDem Leader Ian Couzens insisted on speaking to nearly every debate as well as incoming Leader Hereward Cooke. Whilst the real Deputy Leader Brian Watkins said nothing. Does Couzens think he's made a mistake?
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Take careful note of the voting intentions - as this survey was sent to people of all political sorts and none. All figures are percentages.
How would you vote in an election tomorrow?
Green Party 30
Liberal Democrat 22
Are you in favour of Norwich going Unitary?
Don't Known 45
Are you satified with the state of your local park?
Do you think that council tax is...
Too High 72
Too Low 1
About Right 27
What should happen to the junction at the corner of Brazengate and Grove Road?
The no-entry sign should be abolished 45
The no-entry sign should be strongly enforced by the police 36
Don't Know 19
Are you concerned about parking in your area?
Would you like to see your area become a 20mph zone?
What is your view of the bus service in Norwich?
(The rest do not regularly travel by bus)
Where are the local litter hotspots?
These all appeared several times: Tesco Express (Grove Road), Lakenham Way, Brazengate, Trafford Road, Unthank Road
Do you support a twin bin system for Norwich with waste one week and recycling the next?
I will let you decide which of those are worthy of note, but keep in mind that roughly two thirds of respondants would vote for a left-wing party and less than 30% are out-and-out Conservatives so you cannot say that the response group is biased.
I think the council should note the numbers of people not informed about unitary as a priority (we shall see if this is matched in other areas).
What do you think?
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
However the most recent episode - an apparent rebuke for using an F-word about Brown in the Commons isn't what it seems. Whilst the pres sbang on about a lack of judgement etc. I wonder if they bothered to look at this in context.
Osbourne was quoting the Pensions Sevretary John Hutton who had said that Brown would make "an effing awful Prime Minister." Such division is good play for the opposition.
Speaker Martin was right to ask Osbourne to apologise - and, by the way, his apology was excellent ("I withdraw the quote from the Work and Pensions Secretary") - but the press are wrong to persue Osbourne in this way.
Osbourne is a very intelligent guy who is doing a fine job as Shadow Chancellor. I think the media always like to pull down a winner, perhaps?
That puts Yarmouth and Norwich North into the blue column still but does at least give Charlie a majority of 970 over the Conservatives, according to the Baxter site.
He's still in our sights...
Bob got upset when a Downing Street briefing referred to the "black market". Bob believes this, like persumably any phrase with the word "black" in it, is racist and tried to make political capital out of slamming No.10.
Bob thinks we should call it the "grey market" - although apparently senior citizens groups are outraged at the LibDem MPs suggestion. Can't think why...
I don't like the PC culture but have to admit that it has benefited the country in many ways. The good work of the PC culture is being drowned out by this nonsense. And to think, we mere taxpayers forked out for Bob's time to make such a silly complain.
However recently I have had a lot of comments from "annonymous" people complaining about this, that and everything. That's OK, I love political discourse. The past few days I have had several all of which fall into a certain pattern. It goes like this.
"I have been a Conservative voter for 114 years until I read this blog. You are being so horrible towards those jolly nice LibDems that I have switched my allegance of a thousand years and will be backing Sir Ming and his yellow troops. You are the worst kind of Tory and I hope you perish in as vile a way as possible."
Again, I quite like the cute notion that die hard Thatcherites read this blog and suddenly start trying on their first pair of sandals.
But to recieve that many in just a few days? "Shurly Shome Mistake?"
Well, no ... one of their number has let slip that this is part of a "LibDem campaign to discredit" me and this blog! Oh dear, the e-equivalent of writing a letter in green ink.
Firstly, why bother? And secondly ... why bother?
I'm not so sure that any number of LibDems have the time and energy to do so but if there are any likely lads (or ladettes) out there doing so, I'm glad to waste your time!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
However, I can't help this feeling that the reason that the Norwich South LibDems kept their selection contest a secret was because of the man that they were about to select. Simon Wright is not a hard working local campaigner, nor a national 'A' Lister, but a full time LibDem politican in the paid employ of the party. He quit work as a teacher in order to fulfill his political ambitions. He represents Fakenham whilst living in Eaton and has some very fruity political opinions to boot. He is interested in getting elected as an MP rather than serving a community as their MP.
The Tories are open about their selections because our candidates are good, strong, campaigners with positive track records.
The LibDems stay silent about their selections because they are embarrassed about their candidates, their pasts and political motives.
1. Lord Mayor's Announcements
2. Long Service Awards
3. Declarations of Interest
4. Public Questions (that's your bit!)
6. Minutes of the Last Meeting
7. Questions to the Executive - I will be asking about parking on Bishey Barnabee Way in Three Score and Eve is putting one down about how fast the council can obtain short stay parking bays outside of shops.
8. Council response to the Government White paper
9. Approval of the Tree Strategy
10. Motion on Waste (Proposed by Cllr Stephenson) - see below
11. Motion on Educational Attainment (a joint one by Cllrs Morphew and Cooke)
It is worth pointing out what the Greens want to achieve under point 10 motion:
- Reward scheme for businesses to reduce packagaing on their products
- Get the council to encourage people to complain about excessive packaging
- Write to retailers asking them to introduce carrier bag tax
- To write to the government to offer Norwich as a pilot area for a national plastic bag tax.
Your thoughts on this would be appreciated as I am certainly in two minds on this.
And one last point, about the tree strategy - why couldn't this be produced as an online PDF only as thus save a few dozen trees in the process? I've now had three copies of this document...
Hope to see you there
Cameron's Conservatives are now at 39%, whilst Labour have collapsed to 29%. Sir Ming's LibDems trail even the unpopular Blairite government at 22%.
According to leading election experts such a result if reproduced at a general election would give David Cameron a working Commons majority.
Seats that would fall to the Conservatives would include Norwich North and Great Yarmouth. Charles Clarke's majority over the Conservatives would be slashed to just 378 in Norwich South ... one more heave guys?
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Michael Howard is a good witness to call on the Cash for Peerages enquiries. How long now before PC Plum goes knock, knock, knocking on Tony's door? I'll bet if we find the PM guilty ... it'll be after he leaves office anyway. Good on Howard for being so honest about the whole thing.
Ros Pritchard is the BBC's new political drama where a housewife and supermarket manager becomes PM via starting her own Purple Alliance Party - fighting off toffish Tories and useless Blairites. It is political insanity but I'd forgive that if the script or acting was any good. But as neither are, I'm going to have to say that this is utter crap and once again my license fee is wasted. I'm watching Torchwood tonight on BBC3 so that had better cheer me up. The only good thing about Amazing Mrs Pritchard is it may go some small way to convincing people that politics isn't rocket science, but it isn't easy either.
Of course, but whereas you could go straight to your council or councillor to sort out those problems people in Three Score don't have that luxury.
You see Three Score is a new development (well, by new, we mean four years old) and as such all of these jobs seem to lie with the developers and not the council. But do the developers do what they are told? Don't hold your breath.
But wait a moment - do the people of Three Score get a council tax reduction because they get fewer services? Of course not - living in Bowthorpe means paying all the tax and getting fewer services.
This is a disgrace and should be sorted. ASAP.
UPDATE: An equally bizarre fact came to my attention tonight. Whilst, for example, Bladewater Road and Mardle Street are not adopted, the pathways that links them is. Could the system be any more complex?
Just joking, as if I'm brave enough to take her on!
I have to admit to quite liking scrutiny. I know that other councillors find it a bit tedious at times but the much quieter and more thoughful debate that goes into it seems to get better results than some of party politiking at other meetings. Of particular interest today was the incredibly interesting submission of Labour Councillor David Bradford on why disabled blue bagde holders should still get free parking in the surface car parks in the city. He is disabled himself but is very much able to see all angles of the debate. A great contribution. This led onto an interesting sub debate about the enforcement of the current legislation, the number of diabled car parking spaces available and even the systematic abuse of "parent and toddler" spaces!
There was a funny moment when a few councillors complained that we didn't have the right info to scrutinise the NATS (transport strategy) in full ... it turns out because traffic stats need to be collected over a minimum of 4 years to make them worthwhile. I have to say that the document in front of us was pretty 1D on stats concerning itself only the number of cars and not factoring in speeds, journey times or anything like that.
As I say, a good meeting all in all. However it is just a pity that the public turn up to watch the slanging match that is full council but not a single person attended today's meeting!
p.s. For those who care, I voted against charging the disabled for their parking, I questioned in depth the spending policies of the council and I got utterly confused by NATS.