Monday, February 28, 2005

Important press release issued today: There's more on the Norwich Conservative website.

Following yesterday’s public meeting at the UEA Sportspark about the future of Ellacombe in Thorpe Hamlet, Conservative candidate for Norwich Antony Little laid the questions that the NHS Mental Health Trust still need to answer:

Antony said: ”Nobody doubts the hard work of the staff at Ellacombe or the passion of the campaigners trying to save it. However, we do doubt the motives of the Mental Health Trust on some issues.”

Antony – who has been supporting Rita Steven’s campaign – added: “On the future of Ellacombe, the Mental Health Trust has previously said that they would back down on their closure plans if the public come out strongly against the plans. With a 2,000 name petition in North Walsham and a 1,700 name petition in Norwich, how much stronger must the public oppose these plans before they are shelved?”

The Norwich Conservatives are in the process of delivering around 20,000 petition slips on their leaflets arguing against the closure.

Antony said: “They must also answer the charge about deliberately running down the number of patients. If Ellacombe is still running as normal, why are people being turned away from it? We know people who cannot get a place at Ellacombe – to most people that looks like the Mental Health Trust is running it down. Will they now confirm that this is not the case and agree to look again at the cases of those who have been refused?”

Antony concluded: “Ellacombe is so precious to the staff, patients and carers – we will not give up on it without a fight.”

Sunday, February 27, 2005

There is nothing that I enjoy more than scrutiny of the Lib Dem policy positions – where, that is, they have them. Today both the BBC and the News of the World take tomorrow’s LibDem Budget to task. The LibDems have so few policies – just council tax, Iraq and erm, that’s it really – to speak of that it is difficult to pin them down. They say things like “we want better schools” but fail to mention how they’ll achieve it. Soft words won’t get you very far, Mr Kennedy. Either that or their policy statements are in direct contradiction – for example, being against binge drinking whilst cutting the age of drinking down to 16. Strange, really. Most fun is the analysis of the Local Income Tax (LIT). True, pensioners would (some of them) be better off, but what of hard working families, with two incomes or maybe more, who are hit hardest? The LibDems want pensioners and the unemployed to benefit whilst the young and families suffer. All very good fun picking holes in the LibDems, but as the NotW say … they haven’t got a pray. Either nationally or in Norwich.

Am spending the day working on our latest campaign (possibly the last before an election), to be launched in the middle of the week. Have had lunch at the Trafford with friends and then my parents are up this evening.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

A good day out canvassing ruined … at least by rain rather than snow! We had a productive time on the doorsteps of first the Golden Triangle then Town Close. When the skies opened we retreated and telephone canvassed for the afternoon – with particularly good results in New Costessey.

Best ‘phone conversation of the day: The women who demanded that we knocked on her door rather than phoned before saying she only wanted me to call so that she could say that she wasn’t voting for anybody!

Best doorstep of the day (or the Antony Little reminder that letters to the press do matter): A gentleman who had read a letter in today’s Evening News from a LibDem attacking Labour, said it was far too negative and was back to voting Labour. Shame, I thought I might have been in with a chance there!

Got home to find a letter from Michael Howard encouraging me to vote by post (that was one of nearly 10,000 sent out) – thought it was very well written. During the week, roughly 8,000 letters were sent out to senior citizens making them aware of our new policy to cut up to £500 off their council tax bill. We are really touching base with a lot of voters at the moment.

Last month we delivered another 25,000 surveys and I got into the office to find the first 1,000 responses stacked up for me to read. Plus the next load of Matters leaflets that have been printed. Plus 20,000 leaflets from Campaign HQ. We really are dealing with a lot of paper at the moment! If it wasn’t for the good cause of getting rid of Labour and Blair I’d be upset about it!

Also in today’s paper was a good bit about the traffic light problems on Queens Road – plus have been phoned by a journo about the problems with traffic around Trafford Road. Been a productive day all around, I’d say.

Spending this evening out for a curry on Magdalen Street (wife is now 2 days overdue and getting fed up) then working on the Tories new Sports Proposals.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Busy two days at school, avoiding snow... Monday evening was a Behaviour Management Committee and tonight a full staff meeting. I have come home and Louise is so tired that I have cried off the Council Meeting. Sometimes family come first.

Check out our website for the new updates!

Also was pleased to see that the Tories defended the Ruislip-Cavendish by-election. This is a three member ward where the sole Tory (against 2 LibDems) passed away. Our majority was next-to-nothing. The LibDems launched their famous by-election machine and ... increased majority to 95!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The dining room has been turned upside down and the computer unplugged this week so that I can paint the walls and ceiling. Nice shade of green! It has been half term and quite a week too. Louise is now a few days from her due date and we’ve really been working hard on the campaign.

This afternoon we braved the snow to go to a meeting with the Ellacombe Carers Association in Thorpe Hamlet to talk about Labour’s closure plans. They are a group of some of the passionate people I have met and you have to admire their fighting spirit – 1,500 names on their petition and growing. Led by the wonderful Rita Stevens, the group should win their fight on caring alone. We are offering them our support and will e publishing their petition on all Matters leaflets. If you want to add your name, e-mail

In the meantime, we’ve been on the doorsteps in Town Close, Eaton, New Costessey and Nelson – plus phone canvassing in Cringleford, Wensum, Mancroft and Lakenham. Huge boost to campaign funds too this week as our members continue to astound me with their vigour and generosity.

On the national scene, I feel Howard has had good hits this week on Immigration, Pensions and Health – plus today also on Special Schools. Poor Blair on the other hand has been caught up in the Livingstone row. All I can say is that I wonder how the media and the government would have reacted if a Tory had said it!

Tonight we’re welcoming a friend back from working abroad. Be seeing you!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Good news for the day:
Carpet down in dining room
My leaflets go to the printers
Year 9 can draw and label a trench
Good polling for the Tories
I am officially leading sausage champion in Norwich
Another massive wodge of paperwork done

Bad news for the day:
Labour’s failed attempt to size the immigration initiative
Louise is complaining about being massive
Norman Lamb’s bigger blunder by saying we should talk about immigration at election time (!)
New temporary traffic lights on Queen’s Road are very unsafe for pedestrians

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Much has been done over the last week, at least some of it involving DIY, which is why posts have been a bit thin. Last week we got the good news that the baby has turned (“the baby IS for turning”!) and is (apparently) three fifths engaged. Which is nice. Carpets are being laid, the house is a mess, as am I.

On Saturday we had one of the biggest Action Days in the constituency for a long time. In the morning we canvassed nearly the whole of Eaton Rise and got an excellent response. The last time I canvassed Eaton Rise was a couple of years ago and the response was dodgy to poor. This time people are openly switching to us. One now-ex LibDem voter was shocked at their soft crime policies. Another lady, an ex-LibDem, said that Howard’s stand on immigration had bought her back. In the afternoon we canvassed the Golden Triangle and the flats behind Chapelfield. There was an interesting comparison between the two. The biggest issues in both the morning and afternoon were crime, pensions and the NHS.

To my surprise on ending up in the office last night, there are still surveys being returned at a steady rate (this is a fortnight after the launch). Spent last night designing 4 newsletters and making dozens of phone calls. We have lots of new deliverers and am planning a delivery action day soon.

I have been working this week on a project with the wonderful Rita Stevens, who is campaigning to save Ellacombe House in Thorpe Hamlet from the NHS Mental Health Trusts axe. Rita is fighting an uphill battle but with the support of the community I am sure that minds can be changed.

Looks of funny looks around school due to a certain article in the Advertiser about sausages … always reminds me of that Blackadder III episode …

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

We are off to the N&NUH today for another baby scan prior to the big day - 3 weeks to go now. Heavy teaching load also. Sigh* Went out last night for a drop of leafleting around the Hall Road area of Norwich. Must have been light on my feet because we got loads done!