31 August, 2006
If you, like me, are frustrated at the way that Labour was able to ignore the wishes of the country and parliament then you can thank the Lib Dems. Their complicity handed Labour a huge parliamentary majority which they have gone on to abuse.
30 August, 2006
He has written an article for the Guardian which is the modern equivalent of "Our troops will be home by Christmas". He is either in complete denial about the situation which faces our troops in Afghanistan or is incompetent, in either case British troops are being lost because of him.
I could just about stomach this laissez faire attitude from Browne except for the fact that he couldn't even get the battalion right.
A quick message to Mr (not General or Major or Captain or corporal or private) Browne:
It is 3 Para who are in Afghanistan not 2 Para you complete and utter ****.
If you don't even know who you are sending around the world you should really ask yourself if you are in the right job.
Yet under Labour we have the perverse situation of nurses losing their jobs and wards being closed but the number of spin doctors trebling. It's a funny old world eh?
29 August, 2006
I am not going to make snide remarks or cheap jokes about Kennedy and his drinking, I have seen alcoholism up close and personal and it is too serious a problem to be joked about.
How on earth did the Lib Dems think that their party and possibly the country could be run by an alcoholic? This whole episode reflects badly on the senior people within the party, a lack of honesty, a lack of mutual respect, a lack of judgement and a lack of courage seems to pervade this whole episode.
28 August, 2006
Apparently the military chiefs now need to go cap in hand to the treasury for enough money to get the job done. BTW when was the last time that Gordon Brown visited a military unit? Answers on a postcard please.
27 August, 2006
I have campaigned with her in Lewisham during the general election and she worked very hard. It was a loss to us when she moved over the border to Greenwich.
I am confident that she will make a big difference to CF and I wish her well.
I think that is impossible now to define the ANC as terrorists, particularly in light of what we now know "real" terrorism to be. The tone of our language in describing the ANC and the wider black struggle was wrong and we shouldn't be shy in saying so.
That said I don't think that the party's policy was completely without merit, Britain and America maintained a level of influence with the Pretoria government that made the transition from apartheid to full democracy possible.
My concern at the moment is that South Africa has developed an iconic status which stops any discussion or criticism. The current governments handling of aids, crime and Zimbabwe is appalling and we should not be afraid to say so.
One of David Cameron's great strengths is that he is not afraid to take on the iconic view of the Thatcher era within the party.
Will this it puts Ming's underperformance back into the spotlight? Will it improve the image of the Lib Dems to the detriment of us or Labour or both?
Will it all just be ignored?
Sometimes I ask myself why I do it. The emails of support that I got when I put myself forward for Mayor of London went a long way to answering the question but the email that Iain Dale got yesterday hit the nail on the head. Read it here.
25 August, 2006
There are only three things that you can do in this situation. 1. Build more prisons, 2. Send less people to prison or 3. Let some of the people in prison out. It looks as though we are going to exercise options 2 & 3 despite the fact that doing so increases the danger to the general public.
My personal plan would be to make sure that there are enough prison places to house all those that should be in prison and make some real effort to have less people committing crime in the first place. We really should decide on how many prison places we need based on our sentencing policy, not the other way around.
24 August, 2006
23 August, 2006
The irony is that the children of the least wealthy, least connected or the least confident will lose out. A rigorous education system means that the gifted and industrious stand out, whatever their background, currently they are lost in the crowd.
Social mobility is being limited because the government and many within the educational establishment cannot let go of their "all must have prizes" mindset.
I find this kind of report very disturbing.
The "cycle of disadvantage" is easy to see and ignoring it is both pragmatically short sighted and morally weak, yet state run assistance/care for the disadvantaged is often poor and sometimes appalling.
Regulars to this site know that I have a hobby horse about the greater integration of charity, faith and community groups in the fight against poverty and exclusion. I am aware that there are risks in this but I am also well aware that the current model is just not working.
Sometimes the courageous act is to admit that your current plan is flawed and look to build another one. How many more reports like this, how many more Victoria Climbies do we need before we fundamentally change the way we help the most in need?
I don't understand it. Our students are getting better grades, and the government insists that the exams are not getting easier so why is it employers feel that young people lack the basic academic skills to start work.
It can only be that work has become much harder recently.
In the week that another British soldier loses his life in
I have long felt that the government dramatically underestimated the scale of the task facing our troops in southern
It is essential that the government is honest about what percentage of the deployed troops is now out of action. I suspect that the news will not be good, you can generally assume about three casualties per fatality and that would represent around 50-60 soldiers taken off the orbat.
That is not sustainable.
When it comes to committing troops to conflict either do it or don't do it. Never half do it.
22 August, 2006
Very smart sports car for sale.
Not perfect by a great car none the less.
A wife two children and a dog means that I'm just not using it enough to warrant keeping it.
Drop me an email and I'll let you know the details.
21 August, 2006
If you had to pick up a dangerous snake your instincts would tell you to grab it by the tail, where there are no teeth and no poison. If you did this, the snake would simply twist around, double back on itself and bite you.
But fight your natural instincts and grab the snake by the head you would see that the snake could twist and squirm all it liked but it wouldn't be able to bite.
This is counter-intuitive, grabbing the snake by the tail should be safer, surely. It isn't.
Sometimes taking the hardest course of action is actually the safest move. Clearly this cannot be used as a blanket rule, a steam iron has a hot-plate and a handle, I probably don't need to go on.
The skill is recognising when you are dealing with a snake situation and when you are dealing with an iron, so to speak. If you are making a courageous move always ask yourself "am I grabbing the wrong end of the snake?"
I suspect that with regard to candidate selection David Cameron and Francis Maude could be holding the arse end of a big, dangerous snake.
Local associations guard their independence closely and are not perfect, far from it, but they do tend to be more pragmatic than they are given credit for. Remember Michael Howard attempted to remove the leader selection from the mass membership, perhaps fearing they would be too cautious, too conservative to choose an innovative leader. Yet the membership chose David Cameron by a two to one margin.
When Westminster politicians say that people don't vote Conservative it is well worth remembering that these same "ineffectual" local association chose candidates who have helped us become the largest party in local government, the largest party in European government and the largest party in London government. Not bad for a bunch of clueless old duffers.
The party does need to be visibly different going into the next election, I have yet to meet a single Conservative that doesn't agree with that. The favourite criticism is that we all will the ends but not the means. Not true!
There has been a huge amount of support at grass roots level for open primaries. This bold move takes a significant amount of power away from associations, so why has it been embraced? Because the power that has been lost has been pushed down and out, away from a small, centralised leadership team and out to the wider local community. Conservative naturally like that sort of thing.
The A list (of which I am now a member) is unpopular because it pushes power up towards a small group of Conservative HQ "assessors" and away from the wider community, the new changes to candidate selection do likewise. The moves risk alienating the voluntary party at the very time when the party needs to move away from a small number of big donors towards a true "mass membership".
So how do we get more women selected? Firstly get more women on the candidates list to start with. I have been told that going into the last General Election less than 15% of the candidates list were women, while quite possibly inaccurate the figures are entirely believable. Rather than turn 15% of the list into 50% of the candidates we need to get 50% of the list filled with women. Not easy but not impossible.
Secondly the party needs to look hard at what it asks of its candidates. During 2004/2005 I was heavily involved in fighting for Lewisham East and helping in Bexleyheath and Crayford, I hardly saw my family at all. For me it was the hardest part of being a candidate. I am not convinced women, especially mothers, are as willing as men to put their families into second place to fight an election. The association needs to ask itself whether the candidate needs to be at every internal party function or whether they should focus on spending the time "client facing", on the doorstep and at hustings.
Finally the cost of being a candidate has to be addressed. I don't think that I need to go into a lot of detail because it is a subject that has been well dissected on Conservativehome. Women still tend to earn less than men, sad but true, so the financial barriers to being a candidate hit women harder than men.
David Cameron is being bold, we asked him to and he has to be applauded for grasping the snake, I just think that he needs to ask himself "Have I grasped the wrong end of the snake?"
There have been many voices in the Conservative Party advocating the abolition of inheritance tax, it even came up on a doorstep of an ex council house in Lewisham last spring.
But when Conservative talk about cutting or abolishing inheritance tax people seem to visualise stately homes in the shires with rich Earls and Dukes trying to keep the family money intact. The fact that a Labour MP brought up the issue pins it firmly as a something that affects "real people" and opens the door to real debate.
I just wish it had been someone with a bit more credibility than Stephen Byers.
If this is what they are like with their own money imagine what they would be like with yours. Say no to state funding of political parties.
20 August, 2006
1... Things that scare me
- The thought that the current terrorist actions may turn into a Muslims vs Christian/Jewish holy war
- Big insects
- Drunk bores at parties
2.…People who make me laugh
- Jimmy Carr
- Richard Prior
3...Things I hate the most
- People not saying please and thank you
- Chewing gum on seats
4...Things I don't understand
- Most foreign languages
- Cruelty to children
- Why so many otherwise sane people bought into crap .com ideas in the 90s
5...Things I'm doing right now
- Repainting the boys’ play room
- Watching Callum Best act like a complete shit on Celebrity Love Island just because his ego was a bit bruised
- Trying not to think about work until I get there
6...Things I want to do before I die
- Play with my grandchildren
- Play rugby for England (it won’t happen)
- Become a government minister (it might)
7... Things I can do
- Make people laugh
- Explain complicated things in a simple way
- Paint very small lead soldiers very well
8... Ways to describe my personality
9. Things I can't do
- Type more than a few words without making a spilling mistake
- Walk past a half open draw without pushing it shut
- Play any musical instrument
10...Things I think you should listen to
- Mercury music prize short listed album “Quixotic” by Martina Topley-Bird (she’s a friend)
- People you don’t agree with
- Nails scrapping down a blackboard (it’s good for the character)
11...Things you should never listen to
- People in shops who tell you that “lime green looks great on you”
- Gina Ford’s advice on bringing up children
- People who tell you to “just put up with it, you can’t change anything”
12...Things I'd like to learn
- How to fly a plane
- The secret of life
- Missmass Curry (ask a Ghurka)
- Lamb chops
- Crème brulee
14...Beverages I drink regularly
- Red wine
- Proper beer (ale)
15...Shows I watched as a kid
- Blue Peter
- The Wombles
- Dr Who with Tom Baker
16...People I'm tagging (to do this meme)
18 August, 2006
The huge increase in staff costs, expensive and ineffectual congestion charge, huge bus subsidies, I could go on. In fact I will.
£100 million on advertising! £100,000,000 per year on advertising? Every year!!!!!!
£78 million just to tell us our transport system is great when we all know that it isn't. You could do a lot with that £78 million, small business grants for example, support for drug rehabilitation programs, reduction in Mayor's councilncil tax precept. Why not spend it actually making the transport system work rather than just telling us it does?
There should be a big sign on the wall of every office in the GLA building saying "Remember whose Money Your Spending!"
His online diary is being published on Conservative home, it's well worth a read.
The reaction to the Mohammed cartoons ranged from mild indignation to out and out riots via street protests. The Jewish reaction to the anti-Semitic cartoons is to say, we can do that better.
This is probably a good indication of why Jews have a reputation for having a great sense of humour and unfortunately Muslims do not.
Hat tip to Croydonian for the original story which you can put into babelfish if you need a translation.
What has the Mayor of London got to say on the subject? Not much apparently. He is talking about a far more immediate community relations issue. The policing of a gay pride march in Estonia. No seriously have a look here.
17 August, 2006
I hope that he gets the chairmanship because I have no doubt that he will make a hugely positive impact on the organisation.
I had a look at some of the other sites which made it into the top ten, what outside news and politics was getting attention. The answer was sex and football.
I was rather distressed by the story associated with the number 8 entry Girl with a one track mind. I hadn’t read her site before (honest!) so I had a look, the most recent entries catalogued not Abby Lee’s sex life, like the rest of the site, but how her life has been torn apart by the exposé printed in the Times.
I am not going to make any moral judgements on her lifestyle but it struck me that she wasn’t being hypocritical and details of her life are not in the “public interest”. There is a difference between “of interest to the public” and “in the public interest”.
So why did the Times feel the need to reveal her identity?
The paper may have got a few extra copy sales of the back of this article but in doing so it may well have ruined this women’s life.
There is no excuse for rape and there is no excuse for murder. To partially mitigate the behavior of people attempting mass murder by linking it to UK and US foreign policy is the beginning of a very slippery slope.
I would love to be a fly on the wall at the next Blair-Bush catch up when Tony has to explain this one. "No George, we don't ALL think that you are crap".
16 August, 2006
His lasted stunt is to brand David Cameron’s criticism of Labour’s anti terrorism activities as “almost beyond belief”. The comments that Cameron made in his recent speech were sensible and level headed but they also highlighted a number of key areas of government failing. The failure to implement its own community cohesion plan, the freezing of the home office budget at the height of this terrorist threat and the failure to create a unified border control force.
Prescott seems to believe that the job of the Leader of HM’s Official Opposition is to sit quietly and watch the government screw up our national defence. It isn’t.
Prescott should also watch out, the “hypocritical oaf” label stuck pretty hard when people saw that the man who so passionately criticised the Conservatives for sleaze was also being passionate in other ways too. He is opening a can of worms criticising Cameron for not supporting the anti terrorism activities when year after year the Labour party in opposition voted en block against extending the special powers used to combat the IRA.
15 August, 2006
14 August, 2006
Asking our forces to do more and more with less and less can only end in disaster.
Tim Campbell, winner of “The Apprentice” 2005 will hold a series of one-on-one sessions at the British Library talking about entrepreneurship and business startups. The “Ask an Expert” sessions are open to anyone and more information can be found at the British Library site.
I didn’t see the first series so I have no idea what skills Tim utilised to win over hard nosed Amstrad boss Sir Alan Sugar, but whatever they were he got the job so must have done something right.
Still, an expert?
The one thing that links almost all of these people is the passion which underpins their views, and those views cross party political divides. An example of this was a dinner I had with three longstanding Army mates, all small c conservatives and two big C Conservatives (myself included). Even within this small sub-section of society the views ranged from very, very pro Israel to very anti Israel.
I don’t pretend to have any simple, easy solutions but here is my take on the situation.
Fault and blame. There are a lot of “whose fault is it” type questions floating around and the side of the fence that you sit on tends to go hand in hand with how long a view of history you wish to take. Clearly the current conflict flared when Hezbollah (Hizbollah?) captured (kidnapped?) Israeli soldiers last month. But this is linked to Israeli actions in south Lebanon, which themselves were linked to Hezbollah terrorist and rocket attacks in Israel, etc, etc, etc.
Proportionality. What is an appropriate and proportional response? It is easy to paint the Israeli responses as heavy handed, we asses their actions through our own moral filters. But would those filters change if we had been on the receiving end of daily rocket attacks and suicide bombs? It is worth remembering that Israel is bordered by a number of countries who have vowed to destroy it. The number of casualties is often put forward as proof of Israel’s disproportionate response. Yet yesterday Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, are the numbers of dead a reflection of intent or ability, what would be the Israeli death toll if the rockets were more accurate?
Media manipulation. It has happened and is probably happening constantly by both sides. It is not an indication of being a good guy or a bad guy. Which leads me on to my next point.
Black hats and white hats. When did we become so unsophisticated that we all started to divide Middle Eastern politics into the Janet and John simplicity of good guys and bad guys? I view Israel as a democratic state trying to exist and defend itself; it is not however without fault. Hezbollah are a terrorist organization existing as a state within a state and has targeted civilians for years, yet I am sure that there must be some people in it who have good within them somewhere.
End state. What would Israel be happy with? A quite life? Probably. A two state solution? Probably. What would Hezbollah be happy with? A quiet life? Probably. A two state solution? Probably not.
Think about that next time you jump to propose your simple solution.
How innovative of me.
If you don't like it please let me know. I'm not going to change it back just yet but it is always nice to have feedback.
13 August, 2006
Seriously. No joke. You can follow the link above and behold. If you can't read Persian click on the Anglo American flag logo for an English translation.
I wonder if he will link to my site. I might just send him an email and ask.
Hat tip to Iain Dale and political teenager.
11 August, 2006
Secondly, no on believes the Lib Dems on tax.
Thirdly they are still wedded to the local income tax, which will hit working families hard, particularly in the south of England.
Or does he think that they are too stupid to notice too?
Ken is doing what he does best, abusing the power of his office to give succor to his political soul mates. Does it matter?
Well add up all the money that London gets from America including tourism, companies locating here, inward investment etc. This cosy little relationship could put significant amounts of this in jeopardy. Hardly acting in the greater good of London and Londoners is it.
He wasn't called "Red Ken" for nothing.
10 August, 2006
Iain Dale makes an interesting point, John Prescott is meant to be running the country now that Tony Blair is overseas, so where was he this morning?
I am sure that there will be a trickle feed of information about this operation over the next few days and the comments to and from the Muslim community will be very interesting.
This story saddened me hugely because Damilola died for nothing more than being studious in an environment where being clever or hard working at school marks you out. There is a real cult of underachievement in many schools and this particularly prevalent amongst black boys.
The advice recently given by a teacher to colleagues not to describe students as clever may have sounded uber PC at the time but I think it could be a sensible response to a particular set of circumstances.
The other worrying element of this story is the catalogue of errors in the investigation. This seemed like a fairly simple case yet it has taken 6 years and millions of pounds to bring the killers to justice. It is just not good enough.
Cllr Lurline Champagnie is a councilor in Pinner, North West London. I think that whoever gets the nomination will need to be keep an eye out for suburbs as well as central London. Perhaps representing an outer London ward will be an advantage.
08 August, 2006
This is the result of one of those online tests that you can take, you know the ones. What kind of tree are you? What kind of carpet are you? Etc. Etc.
I have put this up because I am quite happy with the result, although I'm not sure many of my friends would recognise the "open wallet policy" bit.
|Your Values Profile|
You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.
You value honesty highly.
You're unflinchingly honest, even when it's not easy.
For you, integrity is very important - in yourself and others.
People may not always like what you say, but they know they can trust it.
You value generosity highly.
So much so that you often put your own needs last.
There's nothing wrong with having a caring heart...
But you may want to rethink your "open wallet" policy.
You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.
You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.
07 August, 2006
Drugs, crime, unemployment all gravitate towards poor quality housing, I thought that there was now a consensus that much more thought needs to be put into housing and urban design. I am a big believer in "designing out" social ills and the need for more consideration for environmental issues is now a cross party policy. It seems that this consensus hasn't reached the office of Ruth Kelly yet. (Can that women do nothing right?)
The sentences that really caught my eye were: "No environmental conditions are placed on the scheme", "The proposal document says the grant is not intended to cover the cost of roads, hospitals and schools to meet the needs of the new estates" and "There is nothing in this document about quality".
Not comfortable reading.
What a load of rubbish.
I know this is a bit rich coming from someone who loves the Catford Cat but the old coats on an obelisk just doesn’t do the women justice. Firstly it is completely out of place next to the grandiose figurative statues of Earl Hague and the Duke of Devonshire and the simple elegance of the Cenotaph. It is neither figurative nor abstract, in order to make the clothes recognisable they have been given an artificial amount of puffiness. They look less like hung up work wear and more like beheaded, semi deflated mannequins.
Art A level fail I’m afraid, must try harder.
If I go on I think that they may be disappointed.
06 August, 2006
I had to make a number of sacrifices and arrange a number of things in order to apply on time, the change in timescale makes those arrangements obsolete and I am not in a position where I can undo them.
Clearly I am disappointed, I feel that we had a good mix of people and policies amongst the line up and the local election results show that Labour are very beatable here in London.
Rearranging your life to stand for Mayor isn’t easy so I understand that there may be some candidates who were desperate to stand this time round but who were not able to do so, hopefully this delay will give them a chance to.
I am still fully committed to replacing Livingstone with a Conservative mayor and I will work closely (if they want) with whoever becomes our candidate. I will keep the Ideas Forum for London going because it will be a useful source of ideas for our candidate, once selected.
I want to say thank you to everyone who sent me messages of support either through the site or via email. I will be repaying all donations that were sent (that’s going to sting).
(Not standing for Mayor of London)
Conrad has been to modest to talk about his experience much but I heard some very good things about him and his lads through the Army grapevine. This video will give you some idea of what the TA have been up to in Iraq and Afghanistan.
03 August, 2006
A sunny afternoon surrounded by shops and "beautiful" people is a world away from what those same soldiers are going through in Helmand and yet I don't think that the people that were walking past today have any understanding of just how different. And neither do many members of the Labour government that sent them there.
There seems to be an undercurrent of surprise in the quote from the MOD, "a carefully set ambush"! It is almost as if the spokesman didn't feel that it was reasonable for these fighters to be well organised or careful in their attempts to kill our boys.
The Taliban fighters that the 3 Para battlegroup are up against are led by people who have had decades of experience fighting the Russians over this very same ground our guys are better, I have no doubt of that, but their enemy is a highly experienced and motivated force.
There has been a trend to ask the Armed Forces to do more and more with less and less. We have got away with it and I fear that it is now becoming habitual. We either need to radically rethink what we are asking our troops to do in Afghanistan or we need a significant reinforcement.
The recently announced reinforcements could be prove to be "a day late and a dollar short".
We opened it this evening and tried it. Not being "au fait" with the correct method of consumption I put a splash of lemonade in with it. A very interesting flavour! It has a distinct bitter aftertaste, not unpleasant but bitter and lots of other herb flavours too.
It is clearly an acquired taste. Still we do have a big bottle.
01 August, 2006
This is clearly and big job and a big step for me.
Why did I decide to put my self forward? There are a number of reasons.
- I think that London deserves better than Ken Livingstone and rather than snipe from the sidelines I have decided to do something about it.
- The open primary system means that I have as good a chance as any of the other candidates.
- A number of people, who I have a lot of respect for, thought that I would make a good candidate and recommended that I stand.
I now have a campaign website and I have set up the Ideas Forum for London. As you can see from this blog I have plenty of opinions and there are a number of policies which I have already outlined but the Mayor of London is too important a job to be based around just one set of ideas.
I am sure that amongst the 7 million Londoners there are the answers to the big issues facing London and I hope that the forum will bring them out.
I will continue writing this blog and I hope that the three sites will give plenty of opportunity for people to see why I should be the Conservative Candidate for Mayor of London.