Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Antony Little has praised the National Blood Service for their work and asked that local people continue the push to increase blood stocks.

Antony, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Norwich, issued his call after donating blood at the Assembly House in Norwich.

I started giving blood when I was at UEA and was proud to give blood alongside many of my sixth formers today. The quality of care was wonderful - the staff alone made you want to come back again. They answered questions with tact and with a friendly smile.

I don't think people realise how low blood stocks are and how much is needed to keep them topped up. This really is a vital service. We need to have a really good awareness campaign - one that both the government and local authority can push.

The Blood Service want to get into schools and offices but can only do so with the resources and money that it takes. This is so vital that the government must act.

The Evening News are very good at reporting the sessions - you can donate in Norwich, Thorpe End, Heartsease, Bowthorpe, Sprowston or Eaton, so always a session near by.
According to the BBC, Lib Dem failed Mayoral candidate Simon Hughes has said that he believes the Lib Dems will be in government within 10 years – any one willing to put any money on that one?

Also on the Lib Dem stupid-o-meter is his pledge to treble membership and over take Labour – typical Lib Dems making pledges they “know” they can’t keep…

Friday, June 25, 2004

Antony warns of internet scam:

Following the EDPs front page yesterday, Antony warned that he too has been hit by an internet scam:

The EDP does Norfolk a great service in highlighting the dreadful telephone scams, which are causing misery to a great many people (front page 24/6).

My wife and I were recently victims of this sort of “internet mugging” and thought that we might be alone in our fate, but it seems not. In our case we were connected to an account in the Cook Islands after cancelling a pop up on screen. Luckily the connection only lasted 11 seconds – but still cost us a whopping £24 for the privilege.

BT, although very nice about it, said we were responsible for the bill. Ours was, in the great scale of things, a minor incident but how I feel for those robbed of hundreds through these scams.

Since this we have become extremely wary of the internet and never visit sites that we have not visited before or follow links. This is a shame as it is not what the internet was meant to be about – freedom of information in a global community.

So all power to the EDPs elbow and I wish our Norfolk MPs the best of luck when taking this issue to the government.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

A special message to our MP from the people of Norwich South.

This just has to been (and heard) to be believed.

Charles Clarke, you're fired.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The wonderful Lib Dem Watch once again leads the way in pointing out Lib Dem hypocrisy – this time claiming to be the “growing party” and “Winning here” in Norwich, despite losing 12 seats and control of the council just a fortnight ago.
I had an extremely good evening attending the group meeting for the South Norfolk Conservative Councillors last night. We share several part of our Norwich South seat – Cringleford, Colney and New Costessey – with South Norfolk district council. It sounds like the Lib Dems are making a rather typical hash of running the district – they may share the same fate as the Norwich LibDems who got the boot on 10th June. There was a lively debate about issues ranging from parish level up to setting council tax. A real good group of Tories – and a fabulous BBQ too! I got a few moments to talk to them about campaigning and how to get the LibDems on the run. Easy when you know how!

Monday, June 21, 2004

I have just spent the weekend doing very, very little to do with politics. Bit of a strange feeling actually because I have suddenly found time to do other things. Add to that the strange world that is school without my year group (on work experience) and my life has felt oddly void at the moment.

Of course I spent this evening watching the wonderful sight of England thrashing Croatia (hurrah!) and planning newly elected Conservative Councillor Eve Collishaw's first toe in the pool of the City Council. We're going for a big launch to begin with!

I had a letter in the EDP today calling for the money from the means tested pension credit to be put straight into the basic state pension. Got a really good reception when people read it - means testing is simply not popular, and the massive admin cost of the scheme could really boost pensioner income. Pity they cut the bit about linking pensions with wages not inflation, but can't have everything.

Right, off to bed now to think about tomorrow - teaching during the day and a night at the South Norfolk Conservative Councillors meeting and BBQ. Hurrah!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Norwich is a "Fine City."

There is no other way it can be said. It isn’t just a slogan but more of a universal truth. The story in today’s EDP, repeated in the Evening News, that the City slogan might be dumped is an outrage and yet more from the brigade who care little for either tradition or history. And it isn’t the first time this crazy idea has been floated!

Then a tiny, tiny cynic inside me started to turn. Every time this story gets leaked into the press, it is instantly slapped down by City Hall Lib Dems. Always makes them look like the champions of Norwich. Wonder how it gets pushed in the first place – who is actually behind this scheme?

We don’t need a new slogan, and we don’t need the Lib Dems to tell us we don’t need a new slogan. Norwich people know that.
Antony enters the Exclusion Zone!

Last nigh I was invited to the opening of a new play put on by a team from High Schools to raise awareness of the complicated and incredibly serious issue that is High School Exclusion. This is one of these issues that teachers are very hot on – normally our sanity and the needs of the many come first – as too are the political classes, with Labour & Lib Dems wanting to “include” as far as possible and the Tories keen on simply handing power to Heads and governors to decide.

Two things really stood out about the performance – firstly was the way in which you saw the exclusion process from all angles. So pupils experienced several reactions, some enjoying the concept of a long holiday whilst other lamented on their behaviour in school. You had teachers who wanted the pupils out at any cost facing up to lethargic senior management. This is one of those situations where we don't work hard enough to include some pupils but aren't fast enough reacting to exclude others. By the end, you had sympathy with all sides. Exclusion is the most serious thing that teachers can do and I am not always sure that exclusion is the answer or that we understand its real impact.

The second good thing was when they replayed some the scenes, but asked members of the audience to call out to point out where the teachers could have done things better (or just differently) in various situations. Some of the complaints were fairly awful (one lady asked why the teacher assumed that a parent could read) but generally it was well thoughts out and made you think about the tiniest details of what we do. In the end (needless to say), I ended up taking the role on stage of one of the teachers – dressed in a pink jacket and matching headband. It wasn’t quite acting for me, just another day at the office. Soon got the situation sorted out! Several parents caught up with me afterwards and said I should become a teacher, Well, I said…

It was a fantastic night and all the team of the “Exclusion Zone” should be proud of bringing such crucial, but often forgotten, issues to centre stage.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Those Lib Dem Election predictions in full…

1.We’ll get 3 MEPs in the Eastern Region … erm, just the one, actually.
2.Simon Hughes is the only man who can beat “Ken Livingstone” … erm, Simon came a humiliating third well behind Steve Norris, actually.
3.Lib Dems will make strong advances … erm, they came a very sad 4th behind UKIP at the Euro Elections, actually.
4.“Liberal Democrats Winning Here” … erm, they lost control of Norwich after just two years and lost 12 councillors, actually.

With such a “strong” record on predictions, it is no wonder nobody believe a word they say anymore. Lib Dems – rejected and dejected.
Euro Election Results in the Eastern Region shows a meltdown for Labour and a complete standstill for the LibDems. The Conservatives walked away with the election - winning the highest share of vote plus 3 MEPs. Labour lost an MEP, with UKIP picking up two seats. Didn't the LibDems once gloat they'd get 3 MEPs in the East? Errr, just the one for them!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

It is Sunday afternoon and I think I have only just recovered from the exploits of the local elections – just in time to go the European count at St. Andrews Hall!

Everything has gone like clockwork – from the eve of poll leaflet drop, where we managed to cover the whole ward – to the polling day organisation! We had polling stations covered with tellers (which, apparently, gave our Labour opponents a little bit of a shock!) and a fantastic knock up team. It couldn’t have gone any better. This was the most clockwork campaign I think we’ve ever done and I am so proud of what we have achieved.

In the end, and after a re-count, I was beaten by 14 votes. The media tried to play this up, but for the Conservatives in Norwich South it is the best result we’ve had since 1990.

Just remember, this is (or was!) Labour’s safest seat in Norwich. Last year we were third, with 603 votes and 650 behind Labour. Now we almost take the seat with 1,386 votes and only 14 behind Labour. Labour may have hung on in Bowthorpe but if that 11% swing were repeated across the City, Mr Clarke would be looking for alternative employment (hint, Charlie, don’t go for teaching).

This campaign showed us that we can win in Norwich. I am the Conservatives who can take on, and beat, Charles Clarke.

As for our “friends” the Lib Dems, it was an utterly humiliating night. Not only did they crash and burn in both Bowthorpe and Catton Grove (which senior Tory Eve Collishaw won from Labour), but also they lost seats to Labour in Lakenham and University and to the Greens in Wensum and Nelson. Norwich is a multi-coloured state! I look forward to seeing how the LibDems try to claw back this dreadful result. It is clear that the people of Norwich don’t like being taken for granted, they don’t like arrogance and they don’t like the LibDems.

Just one final thought before I go off for the Euro count. How will the now infamous LibDem graph portray this result? They were down c.10% on last year whilst we went up c.5%. Interesting times ahead!

Thank you for voting Conservative in Norwich.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Just back from a very long slog out in Clover Hill, canvassing a very large section of the village. I am incredibly grateful to my team – especially agent Trevor Ivory and dedicated helpers Dipesh Palana and John Wyatt for their support. A team sent by Robert Study –one of our local Tory MEPs – joined us too! Lots of people switching from Labour tonight, several citing the disaster that is the administration of the working families tax credit as a reason. One man said he felt let down by Labour (hmm, there’s a slogan there somewhere) because of spiralling council tax bills and will vote Conservative on June 10th. Another said that the anti-social behaviour was getting out of hand and there should be more police on the beat – couldn’t agree more! Most politically telling was the young man who said I had once lent his best friend a bucket and was therefore assured of his vote. You can always trust the man who lends out his bucket…

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Another day, another campaigning session. This morning was a bit of a lay in, followed by putting up posters around Norwich before going into Tory HQ and doing a serious amount of data input. I’ve also written to everyone I haven’t yet been able to catch in during the evenings and weekends. Am afraid that this evenings canvassing session was a bit of a wash out, but hey! Things can’t always go right…
I’m not saying a word, but I think that the government and the political parties had better look very closely at actions such as those of this Lib Dem Candidate accused of vote rigging. Are we really ready to dump the ballot box just yet?

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Why vote Conservative on 10th June? Let Michael Howard explain, courtesy of North Norfolk's Iain Dale.
Yesterday was a fantastic day on the campaign trail - not least because I managed to get a haircut that doesn't make me look like a coconut. The hairdressers is fast becoming a very political place to be - subjects covered included taxes (too many of them), education (too few teachers), Iraq (too many terrorist killings) and pensions (too little cash for senior citizens). Most interesting quote was from one lady who said she voted LibDem last time, but won't now because of their slavish pro-European line.

Then it was onto Ber Street to meet Robert Westrop - owner of "Bob's Fish & Chips" and Theresa May, Shadow Transport Secretary. Robert has a real problem and is due to shut his business in the next month because the parking meters around his shop has caused a massive drop in trade. Theresa and I - plus Euro candidate Jonathon Morgan - spoke to Robert at length on the issue. Robert is really annoyed that the council seem simply not to listen - first Labour and now the LibDems. It's just not good enough! Following a lunch with Theresa in the T Lounge, it was off again to start campaigning in Bowthorpe.

The evening was spent in Catton Grove, helping Trevor Ivory, Colin Barker and Eve Collishaw re-take the seat from Labour. From the responses we were getting last night, I'm pretty confident.
What would life be like in a Conservative City? Bowthorpe candidate and Parliamentary Spokesman for Norwich South, Antony Little, explains:

"You would have a council that listened to you, and acted in the interest of the City

and its residents, from Bowthorpe to Thorpe Hamlet and

Catton Grove to Town Close. "

"You would have a council that cared about all in society and worked to

include all of our citizens.

As we go around Norwich, people keep saying to us that they feel let

down by Labour, and let down by the Lib Dems, who have wasted the last two

years in City Hall."

"They could have expanded the recycling service, but haven't."

"They could have improved public transport, but haven't."

"They could have worked to clear up the fly tipping, but haven't."

"Norwich Conservatives want to make things better in Norwich. That means

taking a stand against fly tipping but making the Mile Cross tip free

for use. That means freeing up our roads again and reversing road

closures. That means encouraging people onto buses by making it free

for our senior citizens. That means employing city rangers to clean up

both our City Centre and our suburbs. That means abolishing parking


"The Conservatives have a vision for Norwich - a moving City, a clean

City and a working City. A vote for the Conservatives is not just a

vote against congestion charging and the fiasco in our market, it's a

vote for a new kind of community politics in Norwich, a vote for getting things

done for local people. "