Monday, November 27, 2006

The future of parliamentary debate

After school I organised the first parliamentary debate for my A Level Politics group and I have to say that all of them did brilliantly - more confident, better prepared, wittier and straight to the point. They made a lot of our current MPs look like amateurs! The subject of debate was "Tony Blair's 10 years in power have been a sparkling success" - the motion was lost 7 votes to 5, which says a lot about the impact of Blair on 16-17 year olds who have only really known a Labour government!

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.

Clarke to stand - and lose - in Norwich South

Here is tonight's press release:

Responding to tonight's news that former Home Secretary Charles Clarke will seek re-election to his Norwich South constituency, Tory Leader at City Hall Antony Little said:

"It is right that Charles Clarke puts himself before the electorate so that local people can judge him on his record as both a government minister and a constituency MP."

"With Labour on the ropes nationally and David Cameron's Conservatives ahead in all the opinion polls, Norwich South will be a key seat at the next election."

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

Council Agenda for Tuesday

Council Agenda for Tuesday, 7.30pm in the Council Chamber at City Hall

Presentation on Peak Oil
Lord Mayor’s Announcements
Presentation of Long Service Awards
Declarations of Interes
Public Questions
Questions to Exec Members
Proposed Vision Strategy for Norwich and the Council’s short term objectives (these focus on CCTV, wardens and the environment)
Budget Update
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

Ian Gibson won't stand down

The not-very-surprising news that Labour MP Ian Gibson will contest the next General Election would not normally be note-worthy. But the comments of a close colleague and Norwich North resident bear thinking about. She is a Labour voter and big fan of Mr Gibson and yet on hearing the news declared "great, so we get an old, ill MP whose just hanging around to saddle us with the cost of a by-election."

Nice, but with phrases like "going out with my boots on" it shouldn't surprise him!

Capital Programme in Bowthorpe

I have just got the capital budget spending for Bowthorpe. For your interest:

1. Lighting scheme for Smeat Street, Clover Hill
2. Park Improvements for Atkinson Close, Chapel Break
3. New Park Equipment for Clover Hill (tba)
4. 5 a side football goals for Fourways (Earlham)
5. Rejuvenating Clover Hill Community Centre
6. Toad Crossings on Chapel Break Road
7. Road surfacing on Dereham Road (between Wendene and Gurney Road)
8. Cycling Scheme from West Earlham to City Centre
9. Pavement improvements on Rockingham Road
10. Play equipment via 106 money for Chapel Break and Three Score
Views on this welcome

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Question...

Thanks for the suggestions made for my question including those who e-mailed them. I have just laid down this, based upon the first "annonymous" suggestion:

Councillor LITTLE to ask:
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?
Picture is of a grafitti tag in Norwich.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What should I ask at the next Full Council meeting?

Every month each Councillor gets the chance to pose a single question which the Executive Member or Committee Chair responsible must answer. To this point each month I have had an obvious question to ask because of various issues that have arisen around the ward. The question could be about a specific issue which the council had so far not answered (e.g. parking on Bishey Barnabee Way) or about general strategic council wide issues (e.g. time spent to improve run down council housing stock).

I believe in avoiding nasty political point scoring (unlike some Labour and LibDem Councillors) and as this really is the "nuclear option" for finding out information I also think the question should be something you couldn't find out easily any other way.

So, with the deadline looming on Wednesday I'd like to know what you would like answered from the City Council. I can't guarantee I'll choose a question from this blog, but it would be good to ask something suggested by a blog reader.

You can, of course, ask your own question at council by e-mailing it to - 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!

Ian Oakley selected for marginal seat

Ian Oakley is one of the nicest people in the Conservative Party, if not the country. It also happens that he is one of the hardest workers and best campaigners too - and that's useful because he's just been selected for the country's tightest three-way marginal seat in Watford.

I worked closely with Ian for many years in various adventures around Hillingdon Council and I know he'll give it 100% and be a real asset to the party as both a candidate and then as an MP. Ian won't be put off because of the tough fight ahead of him in Watford - it'll make him more determined to fight hard and win.

Ian may not be an A-Lister but he knows Watford back-to-front and I am so pleased for him. The LibDems should have been assured of victory in this seat, but with Ian's selection the whole contest is wide open again.

Go for it, Ian!

Anne McIntosh selected for safe seat

The news from is that Tory frontbencher Anne McIntosh has been selected for the very safe and newly created seat of Thirsk and Malton. I have always argued that Anne deserves a good berth because of her excellent parliamentary record - just the sort of MP we need. I am, however, sad that another MP whose constituency disappears - John Greenway - is now left without a seat to fight. 'A'-List or no 'A'-List we need to support those who have given dedicated service to the party. I hope that John is given what he deserves by the powers that be at CCHQ.

But, well done Anne - I'm sure it was well deserved.

Are the LibDems going to drop their opposition to Tesco ... or are they going to play it both ways again?

One of the big issues that dominated the campaign in Town Close last year was that of the proposed Tesco Express being built on the site of the Arlington petrol station on Unthank Road. The Greens, naturally took against the plans. So too, with little impact, did the LibDems. The Greens subsequently snatched the formerly rock solid LibDem ward and left local activists reeling.
Today a LibDem Focus leaflet graces my letterbox - not a particularly good one and now rather irregularly delivered but one story stood out for me. An update on Tesco.

Chris Thomas, the sitting Councillor who faces the fight of his life next year, claims to be pleased that the application was rejected before adding:

I have had letters from residents who are not car owners and who would welcome an opportunity to shop daily at a small supermarket which they feel with complement the specialist shops.

So that's clear then ... not. Are the Town Close LibDems therefore in favour or opposed and, in particular, is Chris Thomas in favour or not? Or, like on so many issues, are they planning to play this one both ways depending on which doorstep they are standing on?

Or is there a more wholesale change on the way? The LibDems have lost voters hand-over-fist to the Greens in the Golden Triangle and many of these residents are unlikely to return to the fold anytime soon. So if the LibDems detect a significant minority in favour of the Unthank Tesco (but who don't like to shout about their opinions) could they switch policies in time for next May and hoover up those votes?

I don't know, but I do know that the Town Close LibDems are desperate.

They may think that the votes of the anti-Tesco lobby are lost to the Greens and political pragmatism draws them to a pro-Tesco position as the only way of holding their seat?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Door Knocking & Bond

Today was a mixed bag with a relative lie-in (well up at 7.30 and back into bed by 9) followed by a trip with the UEA Conservatives to offer some mutual aid to the Norwich North Conservatives. We went door knocking on one of the new housing developments in the area and two things struck me - firstly the sheer volume of property turnover in such areas, much worse than it ever was in Bowthorpe in my humble opinion. And the second was how many people are now willing to stop and talk politics on the doorsteps on a freezing November afternoon. Overall very good for the Conservatives but with a noticeable number of Green voters too - on today's canvass they beat the LibDems for third. Interestingly we had Iraq re-appear as an issue (it had died down) but also the state of local parks, housing and anti-social behaviour are consistently topping the list.

This evening Lou & I managed to get out and see the new (well, re-made) Bond film. We both think that Craig made an excellent Bond and it was a great film. Much less formulaeic than other Bond films with loads of twists and turns - plus a bevvy of beauties and gun fights galore. Obviously I loved every moment, but the fact that Lou enjoyed it too (and she doesn't "do" Bond films) says a lot for how well it was made. Plus you get to hear Dame Judy Dench's opinion of backbench committee MPs...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

LibDems can't agree on Unitary

I enjoy Nich Starling's blog and he has an excellent post here in which he joins me in slamming the Council for spending £27,000 on the Unitary survey. Nich says that few people he knows in Norwich are clammering for Unitary - well said that man.

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!

The way politics works

Blairites hate Brownites. Some Blairites pretend to like Brown because they want jobs in his next government (the one he'll have without the need to win a general election). Some Blairites will just keep their mouths shut. The party looks like it might rip apart.

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.

Milton Friedman has died

One of the great men of the capitalist free market economy has died today. has a nice obituary in the way of his quotes here.

12% of people know about the Unitary issue ... Labour claim it's a triumph!

From the gushing press release from Norwich City Council and the equally gushing story in the EEN today, you might be forgiven for thinking that the City has come out overwhelmingly in favour of Unitary status.

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.

Action for Bowthorpe Tree Belts

After a lot of campaigning I was pleased to recieve this e-mail:

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)
Bowthorpe Park
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!

Proud to be supporting our community

Last night's meeting of the Bowthorpe Community Partnership started to discuss the response to recent tragic events. I am pleased that all councillors, from both councils and both parties, have agreed that the way forward is a mass community petition that asks for a full safety review of all of the major roads - including Clover Hill Road, Chapel Break Road, Three Score Road, Bishey Barnabee Way and Dodderman Way.

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.

Lewis gets going in Great Yarmouth

It was good to hear from Yarmouth PPC Brandon Lewis about his plans to start campaigning for the seat. His website is changing over next Monday but you can read about his reaction to being selected HERE. It sounds like he has some great plans and has already got an action day and a parliamentary event organised. That's some going! I am surprised that the media seem to have overlooked him so far - although I'm sure he'll change that pretty quickly!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Norwich Tories select candidates

Over at the NorwichConservatives.Com site there is a news update with the local government selections.

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.

Never Forget their Sacrifice

Thanks to ConservativeHome for this graphic. A reminder of what today is about.

Today is not about the glorification of war, it is about the sacrific of those who died for freedom.

Different advice

Of all the people that have contacted me about Yarmouth - both through the comments section on thig blog and through e-mail - two stand out as polar opposites about how the party is feeling at the moment. You know how I fele on the issue but CCHQ have to take seriously the issue of what to do with disapplied candidates (those not on the A List) and those who fail to win their "local" seats. Take a look at these two and decide for yourselves.

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 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.

A record breaking day

Yesterday this blog attracted 5 times as many visitors as normal - thanks to the interest in my reaction to not winning a parliamentary candidature. How many would I have got if I had of won it (fewer, I'd imagine)?

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

Yarmouth says "No": So, what now?

Tonight Brandon Lewis, the Leader of Brentwood Borough Council in Essex, has been selected as Conservative PPC in Yarmouth. He's a great bloke and a real campaigner - actually an asset to the 'A'List and I feel confident he'll turn the seat blue. Well Done to him.

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.

Is the Senate the GOPs Wandsworth

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

My Yarmouth Thanks

I cannot reply to you all individually because of numbers, but I would like to thank everybody who, either directly on e-mail or via ConservativeHome or, have sent their best wishes and luck for the Great Yarmouth final this Friday.

Thanks ... and fingers crossed.

US Mid Terms: Can the GOP do a Wandsworth?

All the polls and pundits predict that the Republicans are on for a mid-term drubbing at tomorrow's polls. Certainly the Democrats have a small poll lead - circa 4% - but all American elections turn on turnout.

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...

EDP: Norwich Congestion Charge investigated

When I mentioned the threat of a Congestion Charge over 2 years ago, the reaction of my opponents was fanatical to say the least. They accused me of scaremongoring, they said I was lying and they rubbished my name.

These people can leave their apologies in the comments section - though I won't hold my breath.

ONLY the Norwich Conservatives oppose this madness.

The Speaker is in trouble

The House of Commons as a whole has never had very much respect for Speaker Michael Martin. Elected more or less on a Labour block-vote, breaking convention when it should have been a Conservative, I believe that Martin was the result of a dominant Labour Party in 2000 proving that they (or their majority) owned the House.

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

Lazy Sunday Morning (and one hell of a Saturday night!)

Look ... no baby. Louise and I are sprog free this morning. The house is clean, we got up after 10am and may even enjoy a hot, cooked breakfast. Wow, that's something.

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

BBC: British Youth is very worrying

Drinking, violent and sexual active ... British youth according to a survey. Our youngsters are agressive, rude and disrespectful compared to other European countries. Now compare that to the high proportions of teenagers who only hang out with their mates and don't eat with their parents. It also shows that children with married parents do better than single parents or even those with co-habiting parents.

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.


Green Policy on Car Parks

I'd like your views on this:

Green Councillors policy in Norwich is to simultaneously reduce the number of parking spaces in the City whilst increasing the price of those left to maintain the income.

Last Nights Votes In Full

Last night we had questions on ..

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)

Green Party: One Track Minds?

Rupert Read has never been the most respected political figure in Norwich and his regular outbursts at full council will ensure that he never is either.

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.

Finally ... an answer

Bishey Barnabee Way is one of the main roads around both Three Score and Bowthorpe. They've had their fair share of traffic problems with the developers and now people parking on the road too. It is on a hill and pretty dangerous. But, seen as there haven't been any accident, nobody will act on the suspicion that it is a dangerous bit of road. I had been asking question, as had local people, about the chances of yellow lines. Nothing came forth other than "no". So I put down a question to full council - the nuclear button for backbench and opposition councillors - and I am pleased to say that I actually got a reponse!

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).

LibDem U -Turn on Unitary Referendum?

The LibDems are hardly known for their political consistency. As a Green Councillor recently pointed out in a council debate, the LibDems don't so much have 2 policies in different areas of the country as 2 policies at different ends of the same street.

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!