Sunday, January 30, 2005

The week in figures:

Number of room stripped of delicious woodchip covering: one
Number of doors knocked on in Eaton & Cringleford: Too many to count
Number of carpets pulled up: one
Number of trips to Mile Cross Tip: Two
Number of leaflets delivered: Errrmmm, lots and lots
Number of books marked: Now you're talking a really big number!
Number of Labour Councilllors committed to opening the Bus Lane in Bowthorpe: None
Number of Tory PPCs committed to opening the Bus Lane in Bowthorpe: One
Number of games of GameCube: None (pleasingly addiction over)
Number of LibDem Council Leaders quitting: None
Number of LibDem Council Leaders or Councillors apologetic for absolute disasters in City: None
Number of Governing Body Meetings Attended: One
Number of Ante-Natal classes: One

Monday, January 24, 2005

Everybody that believes in accountability should sign our petition on

Tories keep up the pressure on Couzens

Petition launched to restore confidence in City Hall

Leading Conservatives have kept up the pressure on embattled LibDem Leader Ian Couzens after he refused to take responsibility for the CityCare by failing to quit.

Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman Antony Little widened the debate with a full analysis of Cllr Couzen’s leadership under the title “5 strikes and he’s out”, detailing the LibDems woes in a number of areas including CityCare, Norwich Market, Car Parks, Snow Gridlock and the recent revelations about waste in the Housing Department.

In a letter to the Evening News and the EDP, Antony summed up the Tory position, saying:
“If people are losing faith in politicians it’s because nobody seems to be accountable anymore, or take responsibility when things go wrong. Cllr Couzens, this is your administration and your problem. Put public faith back into City Hall – surly it must be 5 strikes and you’re out?”

Speaking later to a meeting of Conservative council candidates, Antony said:
“We will not let this issue lie. The report from the Housing Department about money being wasted and the rules being broken should shame the Council. The CityCare fiasco has literally shaken lives in our City. Somebody needs to be held responsible.”

“This evening we will start collecting names of those believe we should have accountability in political life. Cllr Couzens believes he can hide in a City Hall bunker and ignore the wishes of local people. We won’t let him.”

“This evening we are launching an on-line debate and petition calling from Cllr Couzen’s resignation. Our website – - details the case against Cllr Couzens and asks for new political leadership.”

“We will take this information to every home in Norwich asking people to stand up for accountability. LibDem Couzens must listen, and it must be 5 strikes and you’re out.”

Sunday, January 23, 2005

To look at the truth behind LibDem campaigning, just take a look at these examples from Salford and Ruislip.
Have had quite a busy, but hard, weekend. Spent most of it laid up feeling ill – but that hasn’t stopped the world going around!

Friday night I went to a highly successful “Winter Warmer” event at St. Andrew’s Hall in Eaton. It was great to see so many new members turning up and the food was excellent. A tidy little sum raised the election campaign.

Saturday I made a rather high profile splash in the press with both the Evening News and EDP leading on my calls on Ian Couzens to quit over the CityCare fiasco. Needless to say, he has said he won’t go. Is that because he feels he hasn’t done anything wrong or that his party desperately want him to stay? I’ve identified the 5 big failures of this LibDem council – including CityCare, last January’s gridlock, car parks and the market – so Cllr Couzens has a selection of reasons to resign. It really does upset me, this whole thing about politicians clinging on to power no matter what. Resigning has gone out of fashion. But it strikes me that if we want to raise turnout and return politicians to some kind of public respect then our senior leaders need to become more accountable.

We’re keeping up the pressure this week – more details later. Also noticeable about this whole thing is the way that the Labour Party are having to back Couzens because they were the ones who negotiated the CityCare contract in the first place.

Saturday was also spent on the doorsteps. The morning we were in Eaton village where we got a good reception. Lots of talk there about Labour’s pensions crisis and the CityCare issue too. It is damaging the LibDem vote. But not nearly as much as in Sunningdale, where we met not one single person prepared to sday they were voting LibDem. We met a Green voter, a couple of socialists, but not one Liberal. Why? Because of their shamless development of the Civil Service Site and Cllr Lubbock’s indifference to their opinions. If the LibDems allow this to go through then Sunningdale itself will become a rat-run extraordinaire. That really cheered our Eaton Campaign Team up!

Sunday has been spent clearing up the house and working on strategy. Next week we are launching survey’s about one-way systems in the Golden Triangle and we are going to publish the results of the Crime Survey. Busy!

Friday, January 21, 2005

The result of meetings last night. It's time that Labour and the LibDems carried the can for this disaster.

Citycare: Conservatives call on Couzens to quit

Council Leader Ian Couzens should take the blame and resign over the Citycare fiasco, say the Norwich Conservatives.

City Tories entered the row over the costly contracts after it was revealed that taxpayer would be force to pick up the compensation costs.

At a special meeting of the City Group Conservatives to discuss the growing crisis, Parliamentary Spokesman Antony Little said:

”Everyone who works in the community knows of people stung by the overcharging by Citycare. We strongly welcome the compensation being provided but we cannot fathom why it is taxpayers who are lumbered with the bill and not Citycare who were the ones overcharging.”

“This is a serious mess and there needs to be accountability here. Labour created the contracts and the LibDems worked with them. For all the people affected and now the taxpayers footing the bill, there needs to be an acceptance of blame.”

“As long as this goes on without an acceptance of blame, the people of Norwich will have no faith in this council.”

“It is time that LibDem Leader Ian Couzens actually took responsibility for something. This Citycare issue is a disaster – he should go now, and go quickly.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Got into school at around 7.45 this morning to find a dozen kids hanging around. Who says that they don’t like school? Busy day today followed by ante-natal classes tonight and a quick trip to my constituency office to check the postal returns to our crime survey 2005.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Crikey, I can actually see some floor space now. Quick – somebody put a box on it! A busy day at school trying to sort out Sixth Form Admissions soon pans out towards the dreaded DIY.

Fantastic stuff from the Conservatives today on the tax and spending plans, although slightly disappointed we can’t point to the specifics with the unfair taxes (inheritance tax, stamp duty, petrol tax etc) that we’ll cut. Andrew Marr, the hardly pro-Tory political editor of the BBC, said it was achievable and anybody that works in public services knows that there is money to be saved. £8bn off public debt and an extra £24bn into frontline public services sounds sensible to me, plus these are by far the most detailed plans put forward by any opposition in a decade.

As for the rather timid LibDem launch, there was really nothing new. Raising tax etc but nothing to write home about. Their rather sad placing on the news says it all.

Really interesting piece in tonight’s Evening News standing up for the Tesco’s on Unthank Road today and also another complaint about charges at the Mile Cross Tip.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Another grovelling apology for failing to blog this week, but we have just moved! Yes, it’s happened! We’re now living in a rather nice house on Trafford Road. It is an absolute tip and plenty of DIY and TLC is required. Perhaps I should now call this Blog from Town Close?!?

Between me smashing out wardrobes (something rather pleasing about hammers) and running around in circles for school there have been very few opportunities to do anything else. Saturday I had a large team out in (you guessed it) Town Close Ward knocking on doors – really good reception. The LibDems are currently trying to ignore the Greens in between periodic bouts of having a pop at them. If I were the Liberals I’d be very worried about the Green vote in Norwich, because it certainly isn’t coming from Labour or the Tories. Had a few switchers from Labour and a very angry nurse declaring she’d rather eat her ballot paper than vote for Blair. Nice.

This week my Gamecube playing goes to one side to enjoy more DIY, parents evening on Thursday and ante-natal classes on both Tuesday and Wednesday!

p.s. I have only seen the response to the Crime Survey 2005 from those who completed it online but it looks like a real success!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Norwich Conservatives are doing an unprecedented survey about City resident’s views on crime and anti-social behaviour.

The survey is to be delivered to 6,000 homes across the City, e-mailed to over 500 people and is available to complete on-line at

I hope it will be the biggest consultation about crime in the City for years.

With violent crime on the up and our local MP now Home Secretary the pressure is really on Labour to start delivering on law & order.

However we all have a role to play in trying to combat crime, which is why we are asking people across the City about their views.

Crime is by far the biggest single issue that people are bringing up at the moment. Politicians don’t know all the answers so we’re asking questions about how residents feel we could be doing more.

Be it through tougher sentences, more police on the beat or an extension of CCTV, it is important that local people have their say about local crime fighting and what we can do to help.

There are also questions about the controversial ASBOs and the use of prison as a deterrent against crime.

Also, very importantly, we want to know from people how they want the extra police numbers promised by the Conservatives to be put to use. The Norfolk Conservatives have said that we want over 400 more officers on the beat in our county, but we think people should have some say on how they can be deployed.

People know that Labour are all talk and the LibDems are soft on crime. Now is the time for the Conservatives to put forward plans to cut crime.

Whatever your political view, each completed survey helps us to represent you better.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year everybody!

I can happily blog again now as I am back to work and politics is back up to speed. I have enjoyed the Christmas break, although Louise was very ill over New Year, but feel that all of the Bank Holiday’s took me by surprise and I never want a finish that early again. When you finish the term in school you are really ready for Christmas, but to face a whole week of getting ready it really let me down. Ho-hum!

Back to work today, have been lesson planning for hours now. Such a rush around – I was at Earlham High School this morning at a cluster meeting for all the History Department’s in the area and saw some very impressive work being done with PowerPoint. Felt almost technologically ashamed. Then in the afternoon I attended a meeting at the Earlham Excellence Centre (what the government would like us to call a PRU) and saw how well it worked. Tim Collins, the Shadow Education Secretary, has pledge to massively expand these units and offer long-term placements for the most disruptive pupils. Everyone there agreed this was a fantastic idea, even the most socialist and liberal of teachers. We have pupils – as do all schools – who need a lot of work on their social skills and school isn’t always the best place to do that. However the EEC can only accommodate a pupil for a maximum of 3 days. At least the Conservatives are talking about 3 weeks and 3 months … we can’t change attitudes and behaviour like it were a paid of underpants, it doesn’t work like that. Meanwhile the government (now in the form of Ms Kelly) digs its head in the sand.

This evening we went to the first National Childbirth Trust meeting at the Christ Church Centre on Magdalen Road. Excellent even – a good group of 8 “parents-to-be” and we had a laugh! The men particularly enjoyed it, and there appears to be very little you can’t do with one of those plastic babies and a lot of jokes about breaking water…

However, now for me it’s back to the planning (sigh*). One last political add-on. I saw Labour’s rather feeble election posters up around Norwich tonight. We got stuck in traffic, right underneath one, and only recognised it when we came to pull off. Done in a sixties style groovy ad, it really didn’t catch either of our attentions. They’ll have to do a lot better than that come May!