31 August, 2007
I don't intend to say much because much has already been said on Guido, ConHome, Iain Dale, Dizzy etc. I thought that Cameron handled the grilling well enough but what really interested me was the way that a few answers were amplified in the subsequent media reports.
If I had not watched the video and just relied on the news reports I would have thought that Cameron spoke of nothing but stopping immigration and tough jail sentences. The truth is of course a million miles away from what was reported.
Why am I surprised?
29 August, 2007
Prison officers do a very demanding job made worse by the appalling levels of overcrowding in our prisons. That said I don't feel that the snap strike that was called was justified, indeed I feel very uncomfortable about prison officers striking at all. Service personnel and police officers can't strike so why should prison officers, firemen etc be allowed to put lives at risk in this way?
The problem that Brown now has is that public sector pay awards will keep coming in below the recipients expectations because Brown has wasted so much of the huge tax take. Some will just bite their lips but some will strike, then more will, then more.
Brown cannot blame anyone else for this, it is his tax and waste policies that have been in place for the last ten years. Tony has been a bit of a scape goat but in this case the buck stops with Brown. Sorry for the mixed metaphors.
28 August, 2007
I just watched about 40 R Anglian guys practicing for the ramp ceremony with three empty coffins on a bare arsed piece of spare ground. Going through their drills over & over again.
F**king sad to watch. I didn't have the heart to take picture.
26 August, 2007
Extract from letter by David Davis, shadow home secretary, to Jacqui Smith, home
secretary, August 24, 2007
Dear Jacqui, We are all concerned at the rising tide of violent crime that has manifested itself this week in a spate of shocking killings, including the tragic death of young Rhys Jones. You told GMTV this morning that “statistics aren’t a help but gun crime is down”. That is an extraordinary claim.
According to Home Office figures, gun crime (excluding air weapons) has
almost doubled since Labour took office. The annual crime figures, released by
the Home Office in July, suggest a 13% decrease on the previous year, which
neglects the 18% increase in firearm homicides.
However, perhaps most telling is the massive increase in gun violence, disclosed on 25 January of this year (Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2005-06, Home Office). Buried at page 36 we find gun-related killings and injuries (excluding airguns) have increased by over fourfold since 1998.
In light of this information, your claim that gun crime is down is both inaccurate and misleading. One clear fact on gun-related violence is that if you don’t count it, you won’t be able to tackle it. Your predecessors opted for spin over substance. I hope that is a path you will avoid and would be grateful for an explanation of what action you plan.
Yours sincerely, David Davis
This is why Davis and his Shadow Home Office team have dispatched so many incompetent Home Secretaries. I wonder how long Smith will last?
By the way does anyone think after the failure of numerous gun amnesties that the new plan for gun drop off centres will work?
I have heard some good speeches in my time but is is something else to watch someone who grew up in the passionate oratory tradition of the baptist church and civil rights movement. It was a masterclass.
What struck me was that someone who would be defined and probably defines himself as being on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Conservative party said many things which echo or feelings towards family and social responsibility. Self reliance, responsibility, the importance of education and the family were are core to his speech.
It also became clear to me that the history of slavery has left much deeper scares in black American society than here in the UK, his speech was interwoven with references to slavery and he clearly felt that much of what is wrong in black society both in the USA and here is a direct result of slavery. I felt that there was still an undercurrent of "us vs them" in the speech.
I don't nesesarilly agree with everything the Jesse Jackson said in his speech but there was a great deal that I did. And I would finish by saying that if you get the chance to see him speak, jump at it, it's an experience.
23 August, 2007
He will be on Channel 4 tomorrow night at 7.30 fronting a program about the TA called 'The Insider: Army on the Cheap'. As you will probably know, this is an issue close to my heart and on which I have written many times.
The fact that the Conservatives, UKIP and the right of centre media are calling for a referendum has been written off by Brown as a "they would say that" situation. Now that the Unions are joining in it will be a lot harder for Brown to write this off as the obsession of opposition political parties.
Brown needs to agree to a referendum and then try to win it, this ongoing refusal will reinforce the image that he is detached, deceitful and controlling.
19 August, 2007
How did our international standing fall so far so quickly? Well according to this report in the Telegraph it is because Labour have created an army of bureaucrats which dwarf the real armed forces.
If it were me in the Des Browne hot seat I would do two things. Firstly I wouldn't do it as a part time job and secondly I would make sure the forces had what they needed to do a professional job. And that includes having enough people.
18 August, 2007
A bad idea.
Everyone involved could see that they were a bad idea. Mortgage lenders saw that they were a bad idea, the House of Lords saw they were a bad idea, we saw that they were a bad idea, but the government plowed on regardless.
They couldn't launch the scheme on time because they didn't have enough assessors and even when they did it was limited to four bedroom houses, but not three bedroom houses with "large study".
While HIPs are not likely to be the biggest issue going into the next election they are symptomatic of what is wrong with this government: They see a problem and quickly come up with what they are sure is the best answer. They ignore any and all voices which disagree with them, including impartial experts with no political axe to grind. They force their plan through, regardless of the fact that is does not make things better and indeed is counterproductive.
If it weren't for the fact that this pattern is repeated in areas of government that people's lives depend it would be funny. However in both health and defence peoples lives are being lost because of this government's arrogant attitude.
17 August, 2007
Today I will be attending my mother's funeral.
She was born Evelyn Suna Auber on the 24th of June 1940 in Bo, Sierra Leone and died on the 22nd July 2007 in Lewisham Hospital, London.
My mother initially qualified as a teacher in Sierra Leone but then decided to pursue a career in nursing. She came to England in 1960 and trained as a nurse at Redhill Teaching Hospital then went on to qualify as a midwife in 1965.
She first worked in west London but spent most of her working life at Lewisham Hospital. It was while at Lewisham Hospital that she met my father, Philip, who was working at a local estate agency while qualifying to become a surveyor.
Although neither had large incomes they took full advantage of the "Swinging Sixties", both loved to dance and spent many nights listening and dancing to bands which have now become household names.
My mother became a nursing manager in the Maternity unit at Lewisham Hospital and helped to train a generation of midwives. The midwife who attended at the deliveries of both Freddy and Rupert trained under her.
In her later life she suffered from a series of health problems including a stroke in 2001, breast cancer in 2005 and ongoing high blood pressure. Although she recovered from both the stroke and cancer it was clear that they had taken their toll on her strength.
As both my parents had health difficulties we decided to move in together as a family so that Susie and I could help them if need be. This meant that my mother spent a lot of time with her two grandsons and we were able to spend much more time with her than would otherwise have been the case. In January 2007 my parents visited Sierra Leone for an extended holiday.
My mother's elder brother died in mid July and it was while visiting his family that the cough that she had had for weeks became much worse and she found breathing difficult. She was taken to Lewisham Hospital and put on antibiotics. Unfortunately, having been weakened by illness, she was unable to fight the infection and died a 10.25 AM on the 22nd July. Her funeral had to be delayed because many of her family had arranged to fly to Sierra Leone to attend her brother's funeral.
Like all mother and son relationships we had our ups and downs, I won't pretend that my teenage years went smoothly and when we argued they were blazing rows. As I matured I saw my mother in a different light, she was always opinionated but I also saw that she was fiercely loyal and passionate about her friends and family. She was incredibly proud of Susie and I and doted over the boys.
My mother in the mid 1960s
16 August, 2007
He seems to have a problem with my decision not to delete an unpleasant comment left on my recent post about Doreen Lawrence. I decided not to take it down because, while I found the comment distasteful, I do believe in free speech. Hugh ridicules this.
Funny how so many on the left claim to believe in and support free speech while demanding censorship of any and all views that they don't like. For the record, I have left comments up on this site which have been very insulting towards me and my family, I am well aware that free speech is a two edge sword.
15 August, 2007
So when they accuse the government of failing in its duty of care towards service people it is time to sit up and take note. Des (part timer) Browne has to do something about this soon, we are running out of non-partisan organisations left to condemn the government's attitude.
I know that I am starting to sound like a broken record but I have just received some first hand accounts of the situation in Afghanistan and it made me want to weep. This is a hugely important issue, it is not just about the casualty figures, it is about Gordon Brown's unwillingness to properly support the troops who help maintain his position on the world stage.
13 August, 2007
Soldiers mustn't speak out because some sailors sold their stories to the press. How does that work?
Maintaining operational security should always outweigh other considerations. Giving away intentions, strengths and capabilities to the enemy costs lives, most soldiers are well aware of this and despite email, blogs, discussion forums, mobile phones and text messaging we have maintained a good track record in this area.
However, without Youtube we may never have found out that the army was being equipped with sub-standard 50 cal ammunition. We might not have found out what a dire state their accommodation was in back home.
The government is letting our soldiers down, badly, it was embarrassed by the sale of the Navy hostages' stories and now it wants to put a lid on all this embarrassment. It won't work. The genie is out of the bottle and if the stories dry up over night, the media will just start looking for them.
If the government wants to dry up the flow of military bad news, they should stop making such crass and ineffectual decisions and start taking these conflicts seriously.
On Sunday I completed the Nottingham Sprint Triathlon. A 750m swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run in 1 hour 38 minutes and 48 seconds.
It was great fun and the weather was almost perfect, although a slightly lighter headwind for the last mile and a half of the run would have been nice. I now have a target time to aim for and I hope to get a place in next year's London Triathlon.
I would also like to say thank you for all the support that I have got especially from my virtual team mates at Tritalk.co.uk.
10 August, 2007
Brown has heeded Conservative calls to re-examine this decision. Not a minute too soon either.
The draw down of troops, which was spun by the government as being because of a better security situation, has had exactly the effect that I predicted. British troops are now clustered in a smaller number of locations and have been more heavily targeted than at any time since the initial conflict (Telic 1).
It needn't have been like this. The politicisation of this conflict has been disgusting, from Blair's desire to hide his intention to go to war to the current despite not to let reality get in the way of a "good news" story. I have no doubt that service lives have been lost because of this government's desire to been seen in a good light by the left wing and their own back benchers.
09 August, 2007
There are a string of allegations against Ms Kentman including; failing to disclose her debts as a councillor, having four false identities, a £9,000 overpayment of housing benefit on a house she part-owned and outstanding council tax payments back dating more than a year.
This proved to be a huge embarrassment to the local Lib Dems who were forced to expel her from the party earlier this year.
The election will be held on the 13th of September.
08 August, 2007
07 August, 2007
05 August, 2007
I felt more than a little sorry for the competitors because it was scorching hot, the mountains of bottled water were definitely needed. The whole event struck me as being very well organised and having the transition area and the finish line in amongst the exhibition stands worked brilliantly.
The boys were fascinated by the whole event and Freddy kept pointing to Lycra clad athletes and asking me "do you know him daddy?". Unfortunately I didn't, although we all shouted support at random strangers to help them along.
I even had a go on a very smart Trek bicycle attached to a turbo trainer on a virtual one mile sprint course. I did it in a fairly respectable 2 minutes 18 seconds, only six seconds slower that the twenty year old racing snake on the bike next to me. Unfortunately the fastest time was a good thirty seconds quicker so I won't be winning the bike, which was the prize for the fastest time. Ironically I did get a free bottle of beer from the sponsors of the event.
I will be putting in my application for the 2008 event on Monday.
04 August, 2007
02 August, 2007
I cannot believe that 83 people thought that this was something that they should object to. Do they expect the visitors to be noisy? Drug takers? Graffitists? Even if the conversion and usage causes some disruption could they not see that this is a small price to pay towards the huge debt that we all owe injured service people?
Top marks to MVDC and back of the class for Ashtead NIMBYs.