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 firstname.lastname@example.org - 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!