Thursday, May 31, 2007

News of the World Man to be Tory Communications Chief

I was amused by the triumphant fanfare with which we announced that former NOTW Editor Andy Coulson has been signed up to project Cameron as Communications Director - with a massive salery and open season on Tory strategy (read more here).

Great work - another man in the Cameron big tent, although I do hope he has more success in this job than he did in the last!

Realities of the Bus Service

Today we had a meeting with the new Managing Director of First Bus and had an interesting conversation about the state of the service in Norwich. The buses are a hot political topic and I defy any councillors (probably nationwide!) not to have complained about the service in their community. Certainly there are lots of problems in Bowthorpe and Earlham - frequency has improved but the 40 min trip to the City and the lack of punctuality are big issues.

However, the first thing that the MD pointed out, quite rightly, is that the bus service is a business not a public service. He said that many routes are not profitable and gave us some stark statistics on the costs of running a service. It was a frank exchange of views and I think the best thing to come from this is a much clearer understanding of each other's positions.

He also let us know about First's customer contract and said that people should complain if they recieve sub-standard service ... and will be compensated.

I was pleased to learn more about the truth behind the bus service and will put the First customer contract on here when I get it to help people out. The MD has also promised to make himself available to local people more. He was clearly a committed and very competent man and I look forward to working with him in the future, as a member of the council bus scrutiny committee.

Norwich LibDems: On strike?

News from one committee today is that of fuming LibDem Councillors fed up with Labour and the Greens voting for each other to be the Chair and/or Vice-Chairs of those groups. I'm sure this will fuel the LibDem suspicion of a secret pact between Morphew and Ramsay.

However it is worth noting that the LibDem Councillors didn't propose or second each other and they sat on their hands when it came to voting. A childish act of spiting oneself or are the LibDems now on strike? A little birdie tells me they cannot fill all of their committee places either. Hmmmm.

Our New Hobbies

The reason for my lack of posts is that I cannot grapple the laptop away from my wife - well, I say wife but I really mean a woman who inhabits the house and surfs on facebook all day.

This cannot come at a worse time, because now I am spending all day and night thinking about Big Brother. Oh, the shame.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Political Scrutiny

Scrutiny Committee is one of the most powerful tools in the checks and balances on the executive in councils. It gives a wide range of councillors the chance to inspect policy at close detail, to question key officers and to analyse and probe the workings of the authority. I have been very impressed by the work of the scrutiny committee (on which I serve) and think it has a big role especially in a hung council. Scrutiny matters and, thus, the Chair of Scrutiny matters.

Last year it was held by now-former Councillor Ian Couzens who took on the role as he was then Leader of the Opposition. (It, in my view, really needs to be an opposition councillor doing the job because as Chair of Scrutiny you set the agenda and if the Chair was the same colour as the administration they may not be as vigerous in keeping tabs on their work). Even after the new leadership of Hereward Cooke took over, Ian kept his position and did a good job.

So you might image that this year Hereward would step into the role as Leader of the Opposition. Not so. Apparently the Opposition Leader has no right to the job.

On Tory run authorities in Norfolk they are changing the rules so that Conservatives Chair scrutiny and sideline our opponents - so in Broadland an Independent Councillor will do it instead of the LibDems. I will be honest and say that I do not favour this as I don't think it aids democracy and accountability very well.

Anyway, here in Norwich the LibDems have lost the Chairmanship of Scrutiny and it has been given to the Greens, whom Steve Morphew described in today's EDP as being "more honest".

Now the LibDems can't seem to walk anywhere in Norwich without getting a smack in the mouth by a garden rake. A few years back they gained control with a massive swing and controlled the council with a big majority and a lot of goodwill. They seemed odds-on to oust Clarke and seemed to be motoring.

Now they are reduced to a rump of councillors, with many of them predicted to lose their seats next time around. They are split from top to bottom over their Council Leadership as well as their controversial choice of PPC for Norwich South. Their campaigning has gone into meltdown and they seem to pose no threat to anyone at the moment. So losing the Chair of Scrutiny must seem like being slapped with a wet fish, whilst you're down.

Instead, bright eyed Green Councillor Claire Stephenson steps in the ring - apparently saying that Scrutiny will look at things through Green eyes now. I do hope that isn't the start of the party politics on Scrutiny. We have enough of that on council without it dripping into committee too. Claire is intelligent, hard working and popular - I'm sure she'll do a good job and the mark of that is keeping her own side under control too! So watch out, Cllr Ramsay.

Now Labour justify this decision by saying that the LibDems are two-faced, lied in their election material (when don't they???) and cannot be trusted to Chair such an important committee.

According to the EDP battle lines are now drawn between Labour and the LibDems. My advice would be thus. To Cooke, the LibDems squaring up to Labour is like a 4 year old taking on a nightclub bouncer at the moment. Don't bother, bide your time. To Ramsay, make sure your party is being politically plundered by Labour ... sometimes power isn't worth selling yourself out for. To Morphew, let's keep a good natured co-operation good for a while longer.

NOC is going to be even more interesting this year...

The minutes will never really show this moment of absolute LibDem stupidity

The keen eyed amongst you will have spotted a moment of absolute political stupidity amongst the pomp and ceremony of last Tuesday's "Mayoral Making" at City Hall.

In amongst the hats, tights, men in wigs and newly elected Tory Councillors (a-hem!) there is a nasty bit of politics during which the council votes for a new Leader of the Council and then his (or her) Executive.

Who wasn't paying attention at a key moment, then? For just as Cllr Morph is up for a second year in the tob job, the Labour Councillors all duly vote the right way. The Greens and Tories sit firmly on their hands and then suddenly ... up pops the hand of one Cllr Hereward Cooke, the LibDem Leader.

The councillors suddenly double-take - was Cooke voting for Morphew to be Council Leader? In either a daze or too embarrassed to rectify the mistake, Cooke keeps his hand up and a handful of his backbenchers (who either aren't paying attention or resemble sheep) also vote for Morph. There were at least 5 - and maybe more.

Are the LibDems split over the future Council Leadership or did their Leader take his eye off the ball at what can be considered one of the more important moments of the civic year?

At best this will be remembered fondly as an error of judgement, but at worst every time his criticises Labour at a Council meeting I am sure some kindly soul will remind Cllr Cooke that he put Morph into power.

Moments after this incident, the LibDems then en masse abstained over the executive. Or maybe Cllr Cooke wanted Morph but not the rest of the Labour crew!

The mumblings over Cooke's leadership continue and this will not have helped. One LibDem Councillor fumed after the meeting that Norwich now had its very own Sir Ming Campbell.

Oh dear.

The secret of a successful blog is to update it regularly

... which I haven't been able to manage myself. Anyway, after last week's sheer amadness and a brief but very enjoyable holiday in North Norfolk I am back into the blog.

I learnt with some sadness of the demise of LibDem Voice today - a kind of poor man's ConservativeHome. I think all parties need these sort of sites but I have said before that LDV was too-loyal and spouted a lot of the cheery LibDem optimism that the rest of us hate - we're the real opposition, blah, blah, we actually won the 2007 election but nobody noticed, blah, blah, we're not sinking in the polls at all, blah, blah ... I advised that it started to really debate the issues in their party and people would accept a broad church at work rather than try to exploit divisions (rather like does rather well). Anyway, whatever its merits it will be missed even by rampant Tories like me!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cameron's Grammar Fightback

I have just recieved this e-mail from David Cameron trying to put thr Grammar School issue to bed. You might see this as desperate, you might see it as bold ... but I think what the general tone says about Cameron is what counts. I like what he has to say and I like how he says it. Bravo.

Last week, the newspapers were convulsed by a debate about something that the Conservative Party did not do when it was last in office; will not do when it is next in office, and even if it did do it - would almost certainly see it reversed. That's why I described the debate about bringing back grammar schools as pointless.

National selection was abolished because it was deeply unpopular with parents, who didn't want their children to be divided into successes and failures at the age of eleven. That's why in eighteen years of Conservative Government, neither Margaret Thatcher nor John Major created grammar schools. That's why Conservative MPs and candidates in areas without grammar schools do not campaign for them to be brought back.

If they did, parents would be left asking what happens to the large majority of children who don't make the grade - and those parents would be right. Far from being some winning slogan, a pledge to build more grammar schools would be an electoral albatross. That's why Labour want to hang it round our neck. They know it keeps us from joining and leading the real debate over their failure on standards, discipline and opportunity for all.

There is a kind of hopelessness about the demand to 'bring back' grammars, an assumption that this country will only ever be able to offer a decent education to a select few. I want the Conservative Party to rise above that attitude. It cannot be the limit of our ambition for some children to get a decent education; any party aspiring to government must aim to ensure a decent education for every single child. We will never be taken seriously by parents - never convince them that we're on their side and share their aspirations for their children - if we splash around in the shallow end of the educational debate, clinging on to outdated mantras that bear no relation to the reality of life today.

Parents want us to do something about the shocking standards in many of our three thousand secondary schools, not tie ourselves in knots over a grammar schools policy. This is a key test for our Party. Does it want to be a serious force for government and change, or does it want to be a right-wing debating society muttering about what might have been?

A serious party must understand the widespread crisis in education today and respond with a scale of ambition that is appropriate to the challenge. Behind the government's propaganda, it is clear that on literacy, numeracy, discipline, behaviour, we're falling way short of what we need. The challenge for our Party is to tackle educational under-achievement across the board.

When it comes to encouraging excellence, of course it's true that grammar schools can provide a ladder of opportunity for some - but far too few. We need to be the party of aspiration and opportunity for all. With Gordon Brown as our opponent, we can claim that vital territory. He still believes in a know-your-place society where state largesse, not personal responsibility, determine your future. That's not the Conservative approach, and that's why we're doing the serious thinking about how we produce an education reform plan that actually works.

That means no more confusion of ends and means. Every true Conservative believes in aspiration and opportunity for all. But that belief has been obscured by an outdated attachment to a few schools which deliver aspiration and opportunity to some.

I couldn't have put it better myself!

City and County

After last night's excitement, and with Emily safely tucked away at Nanny and Grandad's house, Louise and I decided to enjoy some time together and go out for breakfast. Norwich at 10am on a Sunday is a strange but pleasant experience. I am a city-boy ... I need the buzz of City life and love the fact that Norwich is always busy. But this morning it was so quiet - almost disturbing but actually quite relaxing. We managed time round the shops, bumped into friends around the book shops (how did we manage without coffee shops inside book shops?!?) and ate breakfast without having cereal pinged at either of us.

After lunch, we picked up Emily (and of course, the ever-ready Auntie Katie) and headed out to the contrasting quiet of the county to travel in style, via firstly a small wooden motorised boat (yes... it did just cope with my weight) and then miniture steam railways. Emily, of course, loved it and thought it was Thomas the Tank Engine. Olivia ... well, just slept.

We are very lucky to live in a county like Norfolk with so much to do ... who ever said I'd be bored after the election finished? Last weekend we went to little Chloe's christening down in Kent and next weekend Lousie and I are away again! This week is the AGM of the Council, first meeting of Scrutiny, post-OFSTED party and the Notre Dame VI Form Leavers Dinner. Don't expect much blogging...

Now that's what I call a Tory Party!

Conservative Party get-together's seemed to enter into a strange new world this week, with the Norwich Conservatives "Thank You" Party taking place. Normal levels of decorum and sipping of sherry was shelved, to be replaced with the sound of heavy-duty boozing, raucous laughter and kebabs setting on fire.

It was great that so many of the team could make the party - I have to say I did a mean BBQ, although I was shocked that wooden kebab sticks can so easily set on fire if you leave them on top of a flame! Equally shocking was how often the high winds put out my gorgeous BBQ ... still, that's what an oven is for. The food was fantastic and, depsite my efforts to poision Norwich's fastest growing political party, we seem to have survived.

We were very pleased that special guest David Tenant (i.e. Eaton ward's very own Niall Baxter) could pop in and delight so many people ... if that's what Niall is like sober, it's probably best he doesn't drink! Gone midnight, we still lay around putting the world to rights - although we never managed to come to a conclusion regarding certain potential bikini models ;-)

My house was only just big enough (with the garden) to hold in the enthusiasm and everyone is looking forward to next year with great promise. The canvassing starts again on Monday (hint to other Tory organisers: don't try to print canvass cards late at night and after that much wine).

Amazingly the damage didn't seem too bad - just one massive stain and maybe, in time, that will fade!

One thing I would urge Cameron to remember is that the best thing about the Conservative Party are the people that make it up. I'm really proud to be leading the Norwich association at this time, and last night may just have been the start of the '09 springboard...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Real Face of Unitary: Cuts, Layoffs and Fewer Services

Norfolk County Council has apparently gone over the Norwich City Council Business Case for the Unitary bid. They say that the figures do add up - but only if social services jobs are cut, library hours will be slashed and certain services will not survive after the reorganisation.

Interetingly enough, Labour Leader Steve Morphew says staff would not be sacked but would go through natural wasteage.

Hang on - he doesn't deny that the Unitary Council would need less staff and would need to scale down services. He just says we'd wait for people to quit or retire rather than being sacked.

Unitary status will mean job losses and fewer services - be assured of it.

Councillors Allowances

The press has been all over the hikes in Councillors Allowances and Council Leader Cllr Steve Morphew has a piece in the paper today defending the decision (at least, I think it was a defence...)

I have raised this issue before. Councillors get paid a pittance for the amount of work we actually do. If we continue to pay so little then I am not surprised that people are unwilling to shelve the rest of the their lives and take time off work to do it. I know that the vast majority of councillors do it for their communities, but we need to make sure that nobody is out of pocket by being a Councillor.

However ... allowances are one of those difficult issues to square with the public. How can the council even think about paying ourselves more when cuts are being made across the board and budgets are being squeezed? How can we accept more cash and then tell taxpayers there is no money for them?

Allowances are difficult to juggle and I would be interested in views on what to do about them. How about this - they are set and paid for by an Independent Body, using central government funding, and outside of the control of the council whilst not impacting on local services?

Thank God! It's Prime Minister Brown...

I must admit I was never seriously worried about Brown losing his 13-year long bid to be Labour Leader until I had drinks with a group of Norwich Labour Councillors the other day. They pretty much backed the anyone-but-Brown candidate ... but now it doesn't look like they'll have one! And thank God for that!

The Conservatives need Gordon Brown ... he'll keep the keys to No.10 warm for Mr Cameron!

West Earlham Traffic Calming: Your Views?

At a residents meeting tonight, in Bowthorpe, there was loud criticism of the new road traffic calming in West Earlham. I was told that it damaged cars, didn't slow down traffic and disturbed the journey for disabled people.

During the recent campaign, the people I spoke to were very pleased with the result of the traffic calming and the only complaints were that certain streets were not included (like Enfield Road).

Let me say this clearly - I am not necessarily in favour of road humps as a method of traffic calming. They are often bad for the environment and can often be bad for people who are disabled or have back problems. I am usually more keen on changing road shapes and layout as a method of traffic calming. However if local people want something and there is clearly a majority in favour then it should go ahead.

So, has this traffic calming worked or is it a failure?

I'd love to hear your views.

Democracy works ... so accept the result

In 2004 I lost Bowthorpe by 14 votes to the sitting Labour member Ron Borrett. I remember feeling absolutely devasted - as anybody who puts the time, energy and feeling into something would. However, like I did, you have to get back up, dust yourself down and get on with the job of campainging for a better community.

I am genuinely saddened by the reaction of the Labour Party to losing Bowthorpe (by 9 votes). They have been very loudly attacking our new Councillor, John Wyatt, and making various empty threats - including changing the boundaries to ensure Labour have a better chance of winning and making legal challenges.

My advise is that Labour should shut up, accept democracy and start talking to people in order to work out why they lost. Sour grapes win no friends.

UPDATE: One of Labour's claims is that John doesn't have anything to do with the ward and nobody knows him. John was standing and campaigning in the area long before any of the current Councillors were even interested in politics! John was the Tory candidate for the area on and off since the 1960s and has ran and organised the ward campaign team since 2002. Enough interest for you?

New Obsession Watch: Facebook

A certain young lady (who shall remain anonymous) had led me onto Facebook. She, who unlike my poor long suffering wife doesn't have to stay around to see the consequences, should have known better.

I can't work out what it is for, what use it has or why I love it ... but I do.

I have 12 friends in 24 hours and have spent much of that time stalking people I went to school with.

Ask not what it does for me, but how I coped without it!

I am thinking about starting up a "Bowthorpe Group" on it - but I don't know why.

Monday, May 14, 2007

How one vote for Eileen Wyatt changed politics in Norwich

We had a friend round for dinner tonight and after a little discussion about the local election results it soon became clear that she may well have swung the whole poll in Norwich - and altered political history too.

You see, she did live in Thorpe Hamlet but very recently moved to Town Close. On the last day that it was legally possible to do so, she changed the electoral roll and did so in order to vote for Conservative candidate Eileen Wyatt, whom she had met and liked, despite normally being a Green Party voter.

Eileen came third and polled 620 votes - a historic high for the Tories in Town Close but a little away from winning. However, in Thorpe Hamlet the Greens lost by one vote and thus failed to become the country's first Green opposition party and thus Ramsay failed to become the first Green Leader of the Opposition.

When this dawned upon us both tonight it really made us think about the importance of a single vote in our democracy. Such tiny and insignificant acts have a huge part to play in shaping our democracy.

So as Cllr Ramsay settles back into the job of not being Leader of the Opposition, he might well curse Eileen Wyatt - a Tory candidate in another ward - who robbed him of the job he wanted!

(*** ps. I know everyone can find a case like this when it goes to a single vote - the EDP recently carried the story of a voter who was planning to vote Green but switched to the LibDems after being bombarded with Green leaflets which he thought was wasteful. But it's still good fun!)

(*** pps. My favourite random vote of the year goes to a lady whom I met when she was on Initial Teacher Training. She spent just a few hours in my company about three years ago - and rewarded the Conservative Party (in this case, Eve Collishaw) with her vote because I was kind to her.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Compare and Contrast

Compare this thoughful and considered piece from David Cameron to the utterly meaningless pap spouted by Blair today. I know which one I'd rather be in the position of being our Prime Minister.

The "shock" of the Prime Minister's resignation has led to reels of reflective pieces on the last 10 years. Here's mine...

Tax, spend, tax, balme the tories, waste, spend, tax, spin, waste, tax, tax, spin, tax, waste, spend, blame absolutely everyone else but us, tax, waste, tax, spend, waste (continues for 10 long, long, hard years...)

Monday, May 07, 2007

The 1997 General Election

I am ashamed to say that I have had the BBC Parliament replay of the 1997 election result on as background noise for most of the day. Well, 14 hours of it, actually. And in between council work, school marking, playing with Emily and feeding Olivia I have caught up on the results from 10 years ago. This was my first election where not only could I vote (and, yes, I voted for Uxbridge's Tory candidate Sir Michael Shersby) but also the first where I showed an interest in campaigning. I remember sitting at home, as an 18 year old, wondering what ever happened to the goold old days.

I look back now and think how totally unexpected that landslide was. After voting, I spent polling day in Hayes & Harlington where the Tories were defending a 56 vote majority (yes, fifty six). That seat went Labour by 13,000 votes (Leadership challenger John McDonnell won it) whilst my own seat of Uxbridge was only just held by 748 votes. Phew! If only I had known, I might have been a few miles north!

A few things have made me think today. First of all, how little has changed with the BBC coverage (Paxo, Dimbleby exactly the same!) but how dated it all looks. The hairstyles, the clothes and the standard of political debate. The Tories spoke in English, rather than soundbite, which was refreshing.

The second thing was knowing the outcomes - knowing what happened to people. Knowing how few of Labour's warm words were to delivered upon.

I wonder how those people jumping up at down at the Royal Albert Hall to repeated versions of "Things Can Only Get Better" feel now?

Surprisingly I felt the Tories took their pounded with good grace and humour. Watching Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, Education Secretary Gillian Shepherd and Trade Secretary Iain Laing being open and honest with interviwers felt good ... "I'm not in government," said Portillo to Paxo, "so the good thing is I don't have to answer questions like that!" Most Tories thought that our length of time in office was the big factor behind the 14% swing against us. How simple it seemed then, and how different now.

Interesting that Dimbleby picked out Hague for leader on the night - and how little interest was played in Clarke, Lilley and Shepherd (all of whom stood).

But most of all, I got the warm sense of somebody who was right all along. I knew, even at aged 18, that this government would turn into the mess it is today. As all those people cheered out John Major, they really thought Blair would save the nation. When they look at the NHS, schools, crime, immigration, levels of tax or pensions I wonder what they think now?

How wrong they were. But why did the nation have to go through 10 years of Blairism to find out? Easy - because we, as a party, drove them to it. We are to blame and we must never drive people into voting Labour again. Cameron, take note.

How can the LibDems stop the wipeout?

As Comrade points out in a comment on a previous thread, if the Council doesn't get Unitary (and thus will elect all-out in 2008) then the Norwich LibDems could well face wipe-out next year because of the electoral cycle they face.

This year cushioned the LibDem collapse because so few of their councillors were facing re-election. However next year is different.

I am unsure if Diane Hume, Felicity Hartley or Diana Lowe will stay on to face their assured electoral crushing in University, Town Close and Mancroft respectivly. They may all stand down and leave new candidates to take the black eye.

There is nobody left who thinks that Thorpe Hamlet can be won next year by the LibDems - the Greens will be working hard on this one by now and the narrow defeat will bring out their support in 2008.

Hereward Cooke is, again, a canny politican and will stand down if he knows the writing is on the wall in Lakenham. This seat is still very, very close and if there is one man who can win it for the yellows then it is Hereward. If he stands down it is lost - if he stays then the quality of the Labour candidate and campaign is vital. However at this moment you have to bet on the LibDems losing this one.

Mile Cross was the biggest LibDem disappointment this year - they lobbed the kitchen sink and nearly all household appliances and still lost by over 300 votes! Carl Mayhew is a much better candidate and campaigner and will stand his ground next year. But again, if Labour get it right then this seat is bound to be lost.

And that leaves Eaton ... a seat where the LibDem majority has been savaged by the Tories. It is their best bet next year but relying on Eaton isn't sensible!

So how can the LibDems change all this? What can they do? I have my own ideas and will write about them in the future. Until then, answers on a postcard (or in the comments section) please!

Worst Case LibDem scenario:
Labour 16 (+1, gains University, Mile Cross, Lakenham)
Green 13 (+3, gains Town Close, Thorpe Hamlet, Mancroft)
LibDem 5 (-6, loses Town Close, Thorpe Hamlet, Mancroft, Uni, Lakenham, Mile Cross)
Cons 5 (+2, Bowthorpe & Catton)
... and that's without Eaton and/or Crome!

The Low Expectations of the Norwich LibDems

The Norwich LibDems are celebrating still being the opposition party on the council here and their PPC is looking on the bright side here.

The Council Group seems to have very low expectations of themselves whilst at least the PPC has the ability to (badly) spin the result. I shall post more on this later.

Handbags at Dawn

I am saddened by Steve Morphew’s bad tempered reaction to his party’s defeat at the hands of the Conservatives.

He thinks this is a due to a leaflet put out by Norfolk County Council regarding Unitary status – I am sorry to disappoint Cllr Morphew but Unitary was barely mentioned on the doorstep at all.

However, if he is wondering how Labour has managed to lose what was their safest council seat to the Conservatives two years running, let me offer him the words of a former Labour voter from Bowthorpe who left this comment on this blog:

“Labour did not put any leaflets through doors, so voters didn't really know what the detailed manifesto was. The Conservative leaflet came through most doors setting out the bread and butter issues, unitary was not mentioned.Bowthorpe and Earlham is still riddled by litter, vandalism and graffiti. Labour hasn't done much on the ground to clear this before the election.Bowthorpe and Earlham have been ignored with funding compared to NELM areas.The Labour Candidate hadn't done the groundwork and was relying on the central Labour spin machine. John Wyatt came across as the better candidate who could put the time in, and connected with voters with green issues and being down to earth as an allotment holder.Council Tax was increased by 4.7% by City Labour. Big issue. Too much for pensioners like myself, and double inflation rates. We are not even getting the basic good services like prompt litter cleanups. It takes ages and doesn't always get properly reported by City Halls centralised contact numbers. We are not getting value for money under City Labour, at the moment.I can't see where Steve Morphew wants to go with this, and there is a risk it might backfire on City Labour as a sour grapes party, who sat on their laurels in Bowthorpe, like last year. I think it will further alienate City Labour.”

Perhaps Cllr Morphew should be looking at the performance of his council and his candidates before blaming everyone else for his party’s defeats.

People in Bowthorpe voted for a better candidate who was offering solutions to the problems faced in our community.

He may be happy to spend the next few weeks locked in rooms with lawyers and spin doctors – myself and John Wyatt will on the streets making Bowthorpe a better place to live and work.

UPDATE: I have just recieved a message from Steve saying he wasn't aiming fire at me, or persumably John, personally. Nice to know and I thought I would make that clear - although I feel the advice offered from the former Labour voter above is still valid.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Result

I'm too tired to set out all my thoughts on this, but here are the results ... Jeremy Hooke, the LibDem who won Thorpe Hamlet by 1 vote last night, stood between me and correctly predicting the whole election!

Bowthorpe - Con GAIN from Labour - Tory John Wyatt takes this traditionally safe Labour seat from backbencher Chrissie Rumsby

Catton Grove - Con hold - Eve Collishaw extends her majority following Labour's negative campaign

Crome - Lab hold - Alan Waters hold off a late challenge from the Tories and does so by some margin

Lakenham - Lab hold - Keith Driver demonstrates his popularity in the ward by stopping a LibDem campaign which looked unstopable

Mancroft - Green hold - An easy win for new boy Tom Dylan, replacing one-year-wonder Steve Altman.

Mile Cross - Lab hold - The rumours of Steve Morphew's political death were rather over-exaggerated ... an easy 300 vote win that will make the LibDems wonder why they bothered.

Nelson - Green hold - Adrian Ramsay just takes the piss with the size of his majority.

Sewell - Lab hold - Julie B-C wins again, helped by the lack of a Norwich-over-the-water candidate. Is this a future Green target?

Thorpe Hamlet - LibDem hold - Thank god Jeremy voted for himself.

Town Close - Green GAIN from LibDem - Long serving Councillor Chris Thomas was left by his party to be slaughtered here - and slaughtered he was.

University - Lab hold - Lord Mayor designate Roy Blower puts this ward as Labour's safest. My word how things have changed in just a few years!

Wensum - Green hold - I just wonder if Rupert gets annoyed that Adrian's is bigger than his (talking majorities, of course...)

Norwich City Council:
Labour 15 (-1)
LibDems 11 (-1)
Greens 10 (+1)
Cons 3 (+1)

More over the weekend!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Vote Conservative today

Norwich has a chance to vote for something completely different today. A chance to reject Labour's negative campaign attacks, the LibDems fiscal incompetence and the Green's fantasy world politics.

A chance to vote for a party that believes in good quality public services at a vlaue-for-money cost.

A chance to vote for a party that is environmental in outlook.

A chance to vote for a party that is serious about cleaning up our neighbourhoods.

A chance to vote for a party that really will tackle anti-social behaviour.

So don't leave the act of participation in our democracy to somebody else - there is a difference between the parties and your vote will count!

Labour, LibDems and the Greens want to raise your tax, the Conservatives will cut it.

Labour, LibDems and the Greens want to shut off the City Centre, the Conservatives will free up our roads and support public transport.

Labour, LibDems and the Greens would waste millions on local government reorganisation, the Conservatives would put that money straight into local services.

Don't say your vote doesn't matter - it does.

Norwich matters to you, and it matters to us.

So take a few moments today ... and vote Conservative.