29 April, 2007
April has seen the highest number of British fatalities in Iraq since the original war fighting phase. I do not have enough detail to claim that the two events are definitely linked but it does show that the Multi-National Division South East (MNDSE) sector is far from secure and puts a huge question mark over the justification to reduce British troop number in the area.
If we are reducing troop numbers because of overstretch and public opposition to the war then fair enough, but to claim that we are doing so because the tactical situation has improved is looking increasingly less credible.
I know a number of them well and what pleases me most is that I know that they got where they are on merit. It fills me with confidence when I think of where we will be as a party not just over the next couple of years but over the next 10-15 years.
27 April, 2007
The idea that I should be prosecuted if I chose to introduce my children to alcohol younger than 15 is ridiculous. I think that the mystique that would surround drinking would cause many children to experiment out of sight of their parents well before the age of 15.
There is a huge difference between younger members of the family having a drink with their parents and youth binge drinking. I firmly believe that if we spent more time socialising with our children many of the problems of semi feral youngsters would diminish.
26 April, 2007
They were fantastic.
The trouble with saying that they were great is that I would probably say that even if they were rubbish, but they weren't. I have always been a little bit envious of people with musical talent (having almost none myself) and these young people really made me green.
If you get a chance to see the Chis & Sid students perform jump at the opportunity, you won't regret it.
Yet she is the one making the political running.
The leader of the Conservative party in Scotland has been described as "matronly" and as David Cameron's favourite "Scottish auntie". The Scottish press (not the most pro Tory media in the world) have written that it has been Miss Goldie that has given the campaign some "personality".
The Scotsman said "The Scottish Conservative leader has surprised many observers, inside and outside her own party, with her performances on the campaign trail.
She has been as drily witty as she used to be in the days before she became leader, she has more than held her own in leadership debates - and actually come out on top in one or two - and she has appeared relaxed and confident on the stump." and "She has been a revelation".
What has this got to do with me or London or Bexley or Bromley? Well we have a similar situation here in London, a well known showman who many people expect to romp home and a series of "unknowns" who want to take him on. Miss Goldie has shown that you do not need to be a celeb out of traps, you can build a profile en route.
25 April, 2007
They are all very different candidates, not all well known, but each experienced and passionate. Some people believe that Ken Livingstone won't be beaten at the next election in 2008, I don't subscribe to that for an instant. Each of the candidates last night highlighted both Livingstone's failings as mayor and their solutions. They all did it in a clear and compelling way.
Very little air time has been given to views which criticize or oppose the current mayor, once the selection process gets under way there will be a lot more focus put on Livingstone's performance and the alternatives on offer. Then his self created air of invincibility will vanish, you read it here first!
Here are some photos from the event with a "thank you" to Cllr Nick Bennett.
Listening to Today in Parliament on Radio 4 I heard that the Conservatives had been applauded by junior doctors from the public gallery yesterday. Speaker Martin had to rebuke them! It is clear that Labour have lost the trust of large sections of the public services, the very people who were traditionally their bedrock.
The spin about the NHS not being safe in Tory hands has spun itself out and the ward closures, job losses and meaningless central government targets have taken their toll. We will have a mountain to climb when we are back in office because the damage done by Labour over the last ten years has cut deep. But it is a challenge that we should embrace.
23 April, 2007
If he stays involved and no prosecutions follow his impartiality will definitely be questioned. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
It is possible that he knows the story behind the story and is confident that prosecutions are on their way, if that is the case he can come out of this situation smelling of roses. If I were in his boat I would would stick with it but make sure that I keep everything as transparent as possible, any hint of a cover-up would be a disaster for him.
19 April, 2007
18 April, 2007
A Conservative/Lib Dem joint candidate would be doomed to failure. I believe this for two reasons, firstly it would be very difficult to persuade either Conservative party members or the Lib Dems to actually campaign for them.
I cannot imagine the Conservatives in Bromley & Chislehurst and Orpington would be keen to support a Lib Dem candidate or even a half a Lib Dem candidate. In both constituencies our parliamentary candidates have been on the receiving end of some very unfair personal attacks by the Lib Dems which has left them and their local associations with a bad taste in their mouths.
There may well be Lib Dem MPs who are sensible and quite close to the Conservative party's positions on some of issues but there is no great love of the Lib Dems at a local level across most of London.
The second reason is that it would provide Livingstone with the perfect campaigning position. He would paint himself as the plucky underdog being ganged up on by the big parties.
Let me make my view on this clear, it is not essential to have a "big name" candidate. Livingstone has an appalling track record as Mayor and can be beaten purely on his record in office. London does not need, nor want another shallow, showman obsessed with his own extreme personal agenda.
What we need is a sound, sensible and honest Mayor who cares for all of London and all Londoners. That is what I will be campaigning for.
17 April, 2007
This is despite their track record of being woefully poor at specifying, purchasing, managing or implementing technology solutions. I haven't seen the details of the NHS system but I am not surprised in the slightest that it is late, over budget and ineffectual.
I am not a techie but surely there must be some way of utilizing some of the technology behind social networking sites (such as MySpace, FaceBook, Bibo etc.) to create a "ring fenced" personal medical record onto which medical professional can attach notes, digitized x-rays, create appointments, etc. If the system were based on such technologies any medic could access patient notes from any computer linked to the Internet or even a mobile phone in emergencies.
Please tell me I'm not the first person to have thought of this.
16 April, 2007
I have an embaresment of riches, either go and listen to David Davis give the Wilberforce Lecture for the Conservative History Group or stay at home and watch the Falklands special on 18 Doughty Street.
I know! I'll do both, go to the lecture and then rush home to watch 18DS, or use the watch again feature if I stay for a few pints afterwards. Simple.
His performance at the dispatch box was very, very poor but not terminal and being clueless and incompetent seems not to be enough of a reason to stand down these days.
He will limp on for a few more months, being praised by Service Chiefs in public and being laughed at by service personnel in private.
15 April, 2007
Even on their own these cuts would be unacceptable but when viewed alongside the calls from Ken Livingstone for more and more houses in the region the real dangers become clear.
Key public facilities and services are not keeping pace with the proposed rate of population growth, this can only lead to problems in the very near future.
14 April, 2007
13 April, 2007
You may not be aware but back gardens are defined as brown field sites and as such are ripe for development. Simon is doing exactly what Livingstone wants to do to gardens all over London and under planning law, an applicant does not have to own a property to be able to apply for planning permission on the site.
"The application will replace his terraced house with a four storey block of flats. The policy of Livingstone and this Labour Government is eradicating back gardens from Greater London and replacing them with in-fill, backland and high density developments. These gardens form the lungs of London and it is our duty as Conservatives to preserve and protect them from Labour's attacks."
"A lot of the developments we are now seeing have gone beyond what might be construed as sensible, and now constitute a whole sale change to the nature of our Inner and Outer London suburbs."
12 April, 2007
He did this over the decision to go to war in Iraq claiming the Intelligence Service said that we had to do it. He did this over 90 day detention claiming that the police said that he had to do it. In each case it turned out that what he claimed people had said and what they actually said were not the same thing.
He has done the same thing today! Using a quote from an East London pastor he made a powerful statement about violent crime amongst young black boys. Once again he used the "I have been told by experts that......" line and once again he distorted what the "expert" actually said.
The sad thing is that the fairly sensible points that he was making will now be lost because of the distortion that has once again come to light.
10 April, 2007
Probably not, but I will.
Liam Fox used the phrase "Complete ministerial incompetence" to describe the toing and frowing over the sales of the detainees stories. Spot on.
Regular readers will know that Des Browne is not my favourite minister, yet I am looking for an opportunity to say something good about him, one thing, one act of professionalism on his part would do, anything to show that I am not totally biased.
He hasn't given me anything yet!
08 April, 2007
They are just getting on with a job, a dangerous job but an unglamorous job. It is to their financial disadvantage that they have not been captured by foreign government. The sailors and marines who have recently been released are professional military people and should be encouraged to act as such.
07 April, 2007
At the NUT conference, in Harrogate, Ms Ghale said Education Secretary Alan
Johnson had described the "values we hold very dear in Britain" as "free speech,
tolerance, respect for the rule of law".
"Well, in what way, I'd like to know, are these values that are not held by the peoples of other countries?" she said.
The ever well informed St Crispin tells of a unit now destined for Afghanistan who are two month late in their training because the Government procrastinated over their deployment. You can read all about it here.
06 April, 2007
The shock result of this test was that many of them didn't answer the call. Now I am not going to pretend that policing in London is without it's problems but this seems to me to be a waste of police time.
Imagine the call...... ring, ring . . . . ring, ring
Busy copper - "Hello Sidcup police station how can I help?"
Lib Dem - "Oh, I didn't really expect you to answer!"
Busy copper - "Well I have, how can I help?"
Lib Dem - "I don't really need any help, I just wanted to see if you would answer the phone."
Busy copper - "Was that really all you needed?"
Lib Dem - "Yes, I'm calling from the Lib Dems to see if you answer the phones."
Busy copper - "Oh, right, it's just we are all quite busy here at the moment and this call has rather added to that busyness, so if there is nothing else you need."
Lib Dem - "No, that's it."
Busy copper - "OK, good bye then."
Lib Dem - "Bye, bye"
Busy copper's colleague - "Who was that on the phone?"
Busy copper - "One of those twits that want to give votes to prisoners"
01 April, 2007
Taking money from pensions can only have one effect. Maxwell know that and took the money anyway, hoping to find a way to sort it all out later. It looks increasingly like Brown did pretty much the same thing.