Friday, 31 December 2010

My predictions for 2011

This years predictions is a little tricky as there is no general election to speculate on (I hope). But lets see how I get on this time.
1. Piersmorgan will win his twitter war with Lord Sugar and gain more followers on twitter. Because of his new job hosting the US talk show on CNN, replacing Larry King.
2.Labour will have more council seats than the Tories after the local elections this year. Gaining from Lib Dems and the Tories.
3.The No's will win the vote on AV - The yes campaign really needs to step up it's game.
4.North Korea will do something crazy, again resulting in loss of life.
5. A premiership football club will go into administration.
6. Ed Miliband will still be Labour leader throughout the year and will lead in the polls all year.
7. No matter what happens to the AV vote. The coalition will stick together.
8. No Lib Dem MP's will walk the floor and join Labour.
9. There will not be a double dip recession in the UK.
10. Again, Bracknell Town centre will still not have the new town centre it so needs

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Killer Lib Dem

Or this may as well be the headline of this Guardian article here on Chris Jefferies who has been arrested but not charged with the murder of Joanna Yeates.
The article is covered in Lib Dems references and quotes because among other things Chris Jefferies was a Lib Dem Activist.
H/T to @kiramadeira for her tweet 'Still really confused by the Lib Dem focus here? Vile RT @guardiannews: Joanna Yeates landlord Chris Jefferies'

My 2010 predictions. How did I do?

Last Year I made my predictions for 2010. Later I will be making my predictions for 2011.
So how did I do;
1. Both the Greens and UKIP will have there first MP's after the election in Caroline Lucas and Nigel Farage. < Really two predictions, one of which was right. I was surprised at how badly Nigel Farage did. I really thought he was a more popular politician. Nigel Farage came 3rd (17.4%) in the end behind John Stevens who ran for Campaign for Democracy (21.4%), No mean feat for Stevens. John Bercow won with 47.3% of the vote.

2. Lib dems will lose a number of seats in the South West but will gain others ending up with about the same number of MP's (63). < Well I was kind of right. Lib Dems lost 3 seats in the South West. but despite increasing their vote by 1% managed to lose 5 seats overall.

3. The Tories will win the next general election with a very small majority. <Wrong, 36 short of a majority.

4. England will lose on penalties in the Simi final of the World Cup.<ha ha ha, why did I bother, see my blog Fundamental change required for English.

5. A premiership football club will go into administration. <Portsmouth, almost. I'm going to put this on into 2011. Its got to happen sooner, surely.

6. A major Conservative blogger will stop blogging after the general election. <Well in the end there was plenty, not least Iain Dale. It took some a why. A better prediction would of been a made on the Libertarian blogger front.

7. A singer from one of Simon Cowells shows will be number one again for Christmas. <step forward Matt Cardle, winner of the Xfactor.

8. The general election will be in May. < Not a shock really.

9. The new Doctor Who actor, Matt Smith will help Doctor Who become even more popular than it was with David Tennant. <It appears I was wrong, see here.

10.Bracknell Town centre will still not have the new town centre it so needs. <Well a dead cert. I will keep this prediction to, I can't see it ever happening.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas to all my readers

Thank you for visiting and commenting, I wish you all the best for Christmas and the New year.
See you back here then and enjoy the break from politics.
I will leave you with this Bracknell Igloo taken on 5th January when it also showed heavily.
More detal can be found at deanphotography blog here

Obama and Clegg a compromise too far?

In the US the left, Liberals and indeed the Republican right are all unhappy with Obama over his compromise tax bill which averts tax rises for millions of Americans. This Bill also extends benefits payments for the unemployed.
But I think this shows a Clinton type of compromise (something he had to do as he also had a lack of power in the house).
There are some comparisons I can see between Obama and our very own Nick Clegg when considering compromise and hatred. As opposed to the differences like for example Obama not acting as quickly as the coalition to install their policies and reforms. Perhaps Obama needed a coalition agreement.
So both men are becoming a figure of hate when also being a believer and achiever in compromise. Resulting in hatred of the left because the compromise includes some non left wing policy.
However Obama is not that far away from the average American he has been successfully painted as a sell out by some and a far left raving liberal by others.
I think Obama has started too slowly and has not defended himself well, this has now forced him to compromise. Although I would argue that like Clegg he is doing a fair job of compromise.
It appears to me that when you compromise you will be seen as a sell out. Its a shame as I think this is a good attribute and one that the public have always wished for. Problem with compromise is that it makes you look weak when it is a very brave position.
So if this is a compromise too far, its only because in practice the public don't like compromise as much as we thought they did.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Vince Cable - Empire strikes back

I understand that the Torygraph don't like us Lib Dems. Thats ok, they can join the back of the increasing queue. But why are they going after the Lib Dems in order to destroy the coalition. Do they really want a minority Tory government with no power or another general election that could result in a Labour win or even worse for them a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition.
It's also interesting that papers are increasingly using entrapment and the Telegraph claimed to of published the full details but held the Murdoch story for their own gain as they still wanted Cable to rule on Murdoch after the Ofcom report. The Telegraphs chief executive wrote to Vince Cable along with other newspaper editors and the BBC to ask Cable not to allow the takeover of BSkyB). Now that Jeremy Hunt is in charge of this decision I can see this entrapment back firing for the Telegraph.
Vince Cable with his eclectic wording was always going to become unstuck. He like many Lib Dems are not used to being in government and some are finding it hard to adjust. 
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat party president tweeted 'congratulations to the Telegraph who've uncovered the shocking truth that Lib Dem ministers have... minds of their own. good work! ' And that's just how I judge this story. Liberal Burblings have an excellent blog on this More Libdem ministers open up to undercover surgery constituents and Carons Musings on Tim Farron in Tim Farron ill not be checking birth
It's also no secret that many Liberal Democrats don't like the Murdoch empire and that empire does not like us. It's not a secret that the coalition is not producing perfect Liberal Democrat policy. I expect there are plenty of Tories that would also be unhappy with some Liberal Democrat policies installed in the coalition agreement.
All politicians who have to make judgements should of course consider the evidence that Ofcom will provide. But MP's cannot be expected to keep their politics out of these decisions. That is why they are elected. In reality if Cable had kept quite I expect he would of looked at the findings and then also applied his own  political views to the judgement. If we expect politicians to make independent judgements then this power should be moved away from the policies and into the had of the regulator. but again that's not why we vote for politicians, we vote for them to have power to make decisions.
Liberal Democrats like to say what they think, that's what we have been used to in opposition. If government means that we can no longer be honest with our constituents then maybe government is not for us. Although I would prefer everyone else to change so that members of other parties can say what they believe (after all we vote for what MP's stand for and believe in) surely this is allowed to effect policy. I would also like the papers to understand that its ok for coalition partners to not agree on everything as this is good for democracy to represent more views.
As I keep on blogging. Soon your MP won't hold surgeries and soon they won't be able to provide any opinion or information to any interviewer or constituent, because that is where we are heading.

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Tory led government

The new instruction from Ed Miliband to call the coalition a 'Tory led government' is a work of genius.
If you want to really get peoples back up (of those that hate the Tories atleast) while at the same time dismissing the Lib Dem influence, then this is probably the best line of attack.
Could this be Ed's cleverest move?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bob Ainsworth says make drugs legal

Bob Ainsworth, who was the Home Office minister under Blair's government said "successive governments approaches had failed, leaving criminal gangs in control".

I suspect that Bob Ainsworth has not u-turned but always believed that legalising drugs was the only way to control it. Now he is out of office he feels that he can put the case publicly (a public u-turn maybe). This to after Professor David Nutt lost his job as a scientific adviser to the government.

I suspect no government will actually legailise any drugs (even cannabis) because of the high political risk. It would be brave of any government to go down the road of legalisation, just imagine the papers. Althought it's a road that I would agree with.

Well done Bob.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Government's plan B

So the government have a economic plan 'B' in the event of a down turn. Shocking.
Politically of course this gives Labour some extra ammunition. However I have a different prospective on this.
Surely it is sensible to have a plan 'B' and even a plan 'C' so that the government can respond quickly to any economic difficulty. I would question why this is being worked on now and why this plan is not already prepared, just encase.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Ed Miliband is after me

Ed Miliband has asked Lib Dems to help draw up Labour policy. I'm not sure how I can get involved in this. but I am tempted.
I guess this is a political ploy to split the Lib Dems between left and right. This won't be as easy as Ed thinks as many Lib Dems are left and right across a number of issues. Plus I haven't forgotten what Ed said "that he had a plan to make the Lib Dems an endangered species, and then extinct".
Also think its a myth that orange bookers are on the right, they just have a different strategy on how to raise people out of poverty which on the face of it appears more right wing. However if successful the orange book plans could raise higher numbers out of poverty then simply using the benefits system. Of course neither yellow or orange book plans are in full action within the coalition.
I disagree with Ed Miliband on his comments on areas of common interest like social mobility. It is an interest of the Lib Dems of course, using the pupil premium for example to help address this. However I feel under labour some people became stuck in poverty rather than given both carrots and sticks to climb out of poverty. The UK still does not feel socially mobile after having a Labour government for such a long time.
Labour also need to remember that to win over Lib Dems they need to address Labours record on civil liberties and centralisation. Lid Dems are fans of localisation, Liberty and left wing reforms such as prison reform as well as progressive politics.
There is no home for me in Labour but I am always willing to listen. Lets see what they come up with.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Labour not in the News

I have read and heard plenty of comment of the lack of Ed Miliband profile and exposure. I think this is not all down to Ed's leadership. He has taken two weeks paternity leave after all (and so he should). But what I have noticed is the lack of Labour comment and stories in the press in general.
If you do not follow the political programs where Labour are represented but are only a watch/reader or listener of the news reports then your hard pressed to find any Labour representation or comment. I don't think this is down to simply the blank sheet of paper or PR.
I think this is because there is more interest in the coalition. On what effects the coalition, what splits there are on policy between the parties or within the parties. This simply gives less space for Labour.
Time will tell whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for Labour.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuition Fees Vote - Get it together

As a Lib Dem I'm perfectly happy with Members of parties not voting with the whips. The rebel in me likes it when MP's don't vote with their own party on principal. So I don't have a problem with Lib Dem MP's voting many different ways on tuition fees.
However this is in no doubt a Lib Dem PR disaster, Lib Dems have never been good at PR and our MP's have not been able to put the case across that this system is similar to a graduate tax. Labour Blogger Scarlet called it a mess and I agree it is a real mess.
What I don't understand is the meeting today on how Lib Dems MP's will vote. Why leave it so late. Why not sort out what we are doing sooner. They don't need the extra detail for that meeting, the MP's know it already.
Lib Dems need to act like a party of government otherwise we will never again be in government.
Take Vince's words for example. Vince Cable need to be a little bit more careful in how he explains things. Vince was explaining that the Lib Dems can abstain not that he would abstain on his own legislation. The media can twist your words if you are not clear Vince.
So please get it together people.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Why do the Russians bother

MI5 have arrested Katia Zatuliveter who is a parliamentary aide to Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock who is a member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. You can read about it here.
However I wonder why the Russian bother to have so many spies in the UK when so much information is so often leaked. Surely spying for the Russians in the west is being affected by the law of diminishing returns thanks to Wiki leaks and laptops on trains.
In these days of leaks is spying on the West really worth it?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Press now have a free licence to expose corruption at the heart of FIFA

Japan's Fifa executive committee member, Junji Ogura has claimed that England's World Cup bid humiliation was a result of a backlash against the British media. Fifa president Sepp Blatter spoke to members of the executive committee about the "evil of the media" just before the vote.

I dont blame BBC's panorama or the british press. FIFA were never going to give this bid to England. FIFA want to spread the word of football. It's precisely because England already have the infrastructure that we were never going to win this bid, no matter how technically good it is.

It's also right that someone exposes the corruption at the heart of FIFA. After all it is amazing that this organisation, gets exceptions from tax and is protected from corruption in Switzerland. Bribery would not break Swiss anti-corruption laws because non-profit sporting entities are exempt from such legislation.

So lets give up on this, we are never going to win. I doesn't matter who we send for the 2026 world cup bid. We can't win and we won't win so lets stop wasting our time and instead expose more corruption at the heart of FIFA. The press no longer have to be concerned about winning anymore bids.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Blog & Newsweek: 21 Bracknell & national politics

I have been too busy this week to blog, however I have been reading the web so here is a selection of issues making headlines during the past few weeks.

Local News

Reading lanches it's new fleet hybrid buses - Hybrid buses to hit the streets - Bracknells has had green buses for quite a few years now. Thanks to Courtney Coaches pure plant oil powered buses.

Bungalows to remain after plan defeated

Cllr Kirsten’s kicking when it comes to Olympic facts

Tough targets for police amid cuts - 'Bracknell police will aim for the new targets despite Thames Valley Police’s plan to make almost £50 million of savings by 2015'.

Local Links

Reading Tory blogger Pieman writes 'Corruption cannot be allowed to infiltrate that state at any cost'

John Redwood wokingham MP writes about 'The Euro and the state of EU banks'

Liberal Burblings has a picture of The inside of Vince Cable’s head.

Blog Política has MP for Bracknell Phillip Lee’s Response to Education Reform Enquiry

National Link (Links of the day)

The Contented Lib Dem blogs - Out of touch protestors...and Guardian, Red Ed, Lisa Nandy, CiF, etc.

Mark Pack has some more details from Reading MP Rob Wilson book 5 Days to Power: could there have been a Lab-Lib Dem deal?

Bloggers 4 UKIP have A New Exercise in Democracy? EU Can't Be Serious

Oleuanna - asks Have you stopped cringing yet? This guy is kidding right? Look at what we have BECOME?? here

And this makes my video of the week;


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Thank You, Frimley Park Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

My new son Landon was born Tuesday at 5.53am. He's the reason why I haven't been blogging much lately. But I thought I would quickly blog my thanks to Frimley Park hospital.
My new son Landon was born Tuesday at 5.53am. He's the reason why I haven't been blogging much lately. But I thought I would quickly blog my thanks to Frimley Park hospital.
Hospital experience is personal and is not an indication of how good care is for everyone for all treatments at a hospital. But I have to say that in my experience Frimley has been brilliant.
My dad in law had a bypass there (he later died because of his drinking habbit which caused the issue in the first place), my grandmother was kept alive when she was ill and has been going strong ever since. My mums boy friend was cured of cancer there and now my son was born at Frimley Park. So I can't complain.
Landon had a few problems being born (he was a ten pound baby) and in the end a caesarean section was required. The surgery and the care was brilliant. We were not left on our own during Labour the whole time, very impressive.
Landon has had a few problems with breathing and feeding since being born, this led to other issue. But the care in the SCBU has been first class.
So Thank You Frimley. Your staff and your facilities have been first class and I am very pleased Landon was born at Frimley Park hospital.
Landon is now doing much better and Jennifer and Landon should be out within the week. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Heartened by protests

I was in Last Thursdays Bracknell Standard What Does Bracknell Think. This time the panel was asked, Students were protesting against proposed changes to university fees but, what started out peacefully, was marred by the invasion of the Conservative HQ at Millbank, acts of violence and vandalism.

Protests happen in London everyday but don't make the news. What we want to know is whether the riot on Wednesday has actually managed to further the students' cause by drawing more attention to it, or has it hindered it?

My response;

I was heartened to see students on the streets, yes other protest are not covered but this was a big protest (close to 50,000 people). I was beginning to wonder if the British people had lost the will to protest. Brit's don't do enough of this type of activism. It's good to see some passion, much of it in a light hearted protest.

Unfortunately I think the few people who hijacked the protest at Conservative HQ have distracted the news away from the student cause. If this was at the weekend I would of gone myself. Although I would say to the students. Don't let the fees put you of. You can still afford to go.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Save our green fields campaign

I have been away from the blog due to the birth of my son, Landon. I don't really have the time to blog at the moment and I'm not following the day to day news events.
But I did want to highlight something that Sean Haffey (Conservative Councillor for Hart District Council) has blogged on. In his blog 'Save our Green fields' he has highlighted a small part of government policy which could have a big effect on our Green Fields. His blog is about Windfall sites and a campaign to call on the government to withdraw this part of their policy.
I want to support this campaign as I do believe we need more houses but I do not want to see them built on playing parks or recreation fields, let alone green sites.
Full details on how you can help and on what Windfall sites are can be found here.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Baby Time

My girl friend is due to have my baby very soon. This means that I will be away from the blog for a while. I will let you know if it's a boy or a girl and how it goes.
So enjoy the rest of the blogosphere and I hope to be back as soon as time permits.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

USA Naked scanners and lobbyists

There is an interesting article that a friend directed me to on naked body scanners in the Washington Examiner. It's about how boby scanners do little to improve security (items can still be hidden in body cavities) and the strong lobby in the states that has ensured it's rollout accross US airports.

See 'Naked scanners': Lobbyists join the war on terror

A point that the above article does not touch on is how safe are these boby scanners. They use a short but very high dose of exposure to X-ray's. See AFP's 'Naked' scanners at US airports may be dangerous: scientists. I do hope the rush to get these machine in use at airports has not exposed people to a high dose of x-rays as well as exposing their civil liberties.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Cameron acts quickly on the wrong man

It is not shocking to imagine a peer being out of touch with the general public and while Lord Young resigned quickly after making a candid remark without any heart felt concern and not incerting the context himself. His points that some people are doing ok out of the last recession is true. If you have a manageable mortgage and are paying lower interest rates and are in a safe job then compared to the 1980's recession when interest rates were over ten percent you are better off.

Politicians should be careful how they express themselves but we the public want them to speak candidly or truthly. However when they do they are forced to resign. How is this supposed to help politics in this country if the politicans can't talk in public about any subject without such scrutiny or reflection of the context.

This is why political interviews are so lame these days. They can's express themselves. This means that they become aloof and can't answer question directly for fear of being quoted out on context, leading to the sack. Interviews these days are more like a game then an insight into the subject at hand.

Only a very few politicans can get away with using language that is accepted as their way, like say Vince Cable or Boris Johnson and even they avoid questions.

Ed Miliband also took some time of paternity leave to put the knife further into lord Young. But Ed should be careful because this just encourages the Tories to do the same back when someone from Labour speaks out of turn. And they will someone always does.

It is interesting how David Cameron has acted so quickly over the his photographer and website producer and Lord Young but has still done nothing about media advisor Andy Coulson who was editor of the News of the World during their illegal phone hacking operation.

So anyone fancy becoming a politican then?

Check out the Lord Young fact check here

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Charged with soliciting murder over Iraq war blog

Today Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, 23, of Dunstall was charged with soliciting murder over Iraq war blog which listing MPs that voted for the Iraq war. He of course was also charged for other offences under the Terrorism Act which I suspect had more significance.

The danger with this charge is the usual freedom of speech after all this information is already out there in the public domain. For example the BBC has a list of who voted for the war. But I doubt the BBC will be prosecuted or Old Holborn who posted a list today.

It appears you have to be increasingly careful. While I suspect Bilal added some vile words encouraging these MP's to be attacked. This ruling could continue to effect free speech on the internet as the recent Paul Chambers twitter trial has shown. Be careful out there because at this rate I don't beable to post anything on this blog.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The 'i' Newspaper review

I have been buying the 'i'paper from The Independent most days sice it's release.
I was an increasingly occasional reader of all papers but mostly a reader of none. This is because I get annoyed with biased opinions not in columns but in the articles themselves. Of course the Independent is supposed to be just that. But of course it is not unbiased. Granted its not overly influenced by it's proprietor (Alexander Lebedev) like other papers are. But the paper does have a feel of a left wing biased. I find The Independent isn't quite as bad as the other papers when it comes to the stories themselves. They also often do a little for and against outline which seems fair.
So why mention the Independent when reviewing the 'i' newspaper. Well the 'i' takes highlighted articles and opinions from the Indy and includes them in its 56 pages.
The layout
Upon opening the paper your see the News Matrix. You can get an instant glance at the headlines and the articles within the 'i'. Your also see the letter from the editor (Simon Kelner), which can be about anything although it is usually a defence or explanation of the 'i'paper (early days).
The Matrix is a fair amount of fun. Today (16th November) for example there is the celebrity fight club which gives a hand bag rating and also allows someone like myself (who knows nothing about celebrity) to at least cover my back in conversations at work. Today there is a list of the biggest ever bonuses and every day there are some nice touches just like this. As a fact man my really like Number of the day, which list facts and figures. For example today the numbers of the day are 2:1 ratio which new sellers of homes outstrip mortgage approvals, £40m the amount spent on lawyers by the MOD, 472,000 number of people employed by Tesco in its stores around the world, 16 the passages in George W Bush's memoir that have been alleged to be plagiarised.
The paper is split into News, Views, TV, IQ, Business and Sport and a page of games.The coloured contents table of page numbers is listed on the top of every page for ease. Most sections have their own matrix.
The news itself has a world section (Panorama) with short details on the world events, articles from the Indy and Caught *& social which is two pages of Caleb pictures and gossip. Everything in the paper is short and concise, you won't find any articles over two pages.
The views section has the Opinion Matrix, a from the blogosphere highlight and @i which is a letters page sent in by email, text,Twitter and Facebook. The views sections is contained within the News section and has a couple of Independent comment articles. The matrix here has short comment on the world news with a their view and our view for some of the topics (normally two).
TV section (centre pages) has a personal TV selector which simply highlights the evenings TV with comment on each split by program type. The bottom part has a listing of the main terrestrial channels plus Sky and another chosen channel. limited space has meant that satellite and radio programming is missing although there are highlights for both.
iQ is the other bits and pieces you normally expect to find in a paper such as health, fashion, music reviews and the arts. There are other little added extras such as ispy (Celebs again) and ibuy which is a small review of products an where to buy.
Business section again has a matrix and outlook forward by David Prosser, from the business pages which looks at world papers, buy sell for recommended share dealing, the diary and a small collection of city highlights including gobal indexes, sterling to Euro,Dollar gold price etc. There are no listings of share prices.
Sport has a handy sports matrix a few good Indy articles, results and fixtures but doesn't have a list of horse races like most papers only a 'Turf' section that covers horse racing but lacks detail.
Games section is on one page with Sudoku simple, intermediate, advanced, maths puzzle, crossword and throughout the whole paper I only found one conic strip.
Any good?
I think this paper is fulfilling the gap in the market it has identified. That gap is me and others like me. I don't have that much time to read a paper. I read online news on my Iphone, Watch 24 hour news but don't buy a paper and I'm active online mainly through the phone. What puts me of papers is the price (The 'i' is 20pence), The size and the heavy handed opinions. I don't feel the 'i' is forcing opinions down my throat or going for outrage. It's also nice to not be embarrassed by reading an article while having a pair of fine boobs glaring out from my paper.
The paper of course lacks detail, lacks games and lacks celebrity gossip, this is not a bad thing for everyone. So if you want that detail your going to have to upgrade to a more expensive paper. The 'i' makes up for it as I have the time to see the headlines and know some detail across a good range of stories. the paper is an easier read, rather than flicking through lots of paper. The selection of articles are interesting, well thought out and put together and not long SA's.
This papers knows you don't have time in this modern world so the matrix's throughout covers most of the detail. 'I just want to know what's going on' you cry and your find out quickly. This paper is designed with the online world in mind while not being online itself (apart from the Independent website).
This paper is not for everyone. If you want opinions that reinforce your view or you need to know more about Xfactor and need to see a pair of boobs or indeed want a paper that will use up your whole morning then this is not for you. If you get 'The Metro' because you like it rather then grabbing it because it's free and the only thing on offer then this is not for you.
If you want a quick read that is cheap and of decent quality I would recommend the 'i' paper. There aren't any morning paper alternative out there anyway and certainly not for 20p.
News efficiency 5/5 , Boobs 0/5

Sunday, 14 November 2010

What big US government

I will never really understand how some Americans think they have big government. Other than their massive spending on defence. Take maternity leave for example. see USA Today here.

The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act allows for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. This is not paid (accept for a few states). To quote the article 'out of 168 nations in a Harvard University study last year, 163 had some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.'

That is not big government, that is already the smallest state possible.

I have been watching Undercover Boss USA and one thing that runs through each program (apart from the fact that the boss only seems to deal with the personal issues of the individuals and not the company wide problems) is that Americans get almost nothing from their government or their taxes. It is simply shocking how little help the US provides. In this program you see how Americans just get on with their problems. That is commendable but every program throws up many issues which the boss deal with later in the program.

It is not just healthcare but all types of care which is not as good as it should be. It's not as if the USA doesn't have Social Security, its just not very good when compared with other first world countries. We all know about Americas Work to Welfare programs which is much harsher than the Coalitions proposals, but did you know that US citizens only received three months of unemployment benefit until this was changed to two years for the duration of the recession.

So American I just want to let you know that you do not have big government.

USA Social Security Administration can be found here

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Some Lib Dems planned to abandon tuition fees pledge

Lets face it. Lib Dems members knew one thing about coalitions. The minor party generally does badly in the next general election. So we knew this was going to be hard. But damn it, this is very difficult indeed.

The headline should really read 'A small group of Lib Dems planned to abandon the fees pledge'. This is because the same Lib Dems who were part of the negotiation team are the same Lib Dems who knew what was in the negociation document. So it's really they who planned to abandon the pledge. The rest of us had no idea.

Nick Clegg did try to get the Liberal Democrats to drop this policy and he failed. Because the Liberal Democrats are a democratic party it meant that he didn't have that much control over policy and has to accept some polices voted on by the party members.

As I said in A pledge is a pledge. End of . There is not much defence to a pledge. To pictures of you standing infront of a pledge, when knowing that the two parties you may have to negociate with both support tuition fees and won't pull back on it. Knowing times are hard and this would not be affordable. This was the big error. Perhaps the biggest error Clegg and the negociation team made. For a group of people so clever it is quite shocking that they didn't back away some MP's including themselves from this pledge.

It is right in a first past the post election system for the rest of the party to remain ignorant of the negociation document because you have to fight for a government not for a coalition. However I think now we have had a recent coaltion perhaps we should release some details of our priorities for negociation before the next election so atleast people will understand the difference between negotiable policy and non negotiable policy. I still feel that the Lib Dems where caught between a rock and a hard place after the electorate cast their vote.

I would also add that perhaps a policy to scrap tuition fees was not as fair as it first seems. Me and my brother did not go to university but my mum still paid through her taxes for others to go to uni. This doesn't seem fair. So I think it is more fair for graduates to pay something torwards their university education. The new system is like a back door graduate tax. It is a progressive system. The main problem with it is the cost or rather the cuts to higher education. I agree with some cuts because I don't think the state should pay the full cost but its the high level of cuts that have made the new system so expensive.

It's worth listening to Stephen Nolan on last night show with Rob Wilson MP who wrote the book where this detail is revealed. Iain Dale, Mehdi Hasan, Dr Evan Harris and Helen Duffett discussing this topic from about 1.45 hours in. click here.

Friday, 12 November 2010

More land development for Bracknell Borough

Bracknell Forest Council has opened for consultation their plans for the future housing development here. Comments can be made on the website (I will post mine in due course).This is for the remaining 3,626 houses required of the 10,780 additional homes proposed by 2026.
The proposals include the heading 'Previously Developed Land in Defined Settlements'.
These sites are;
18 houses at Adastron House, Crowthorne Road, Bracknell
100 houses at Garth Hill School, Sandy Lane, Bracknell
14 houses on Land at Battle Bridge House, and Garage, Forest Road, Warfield
28 at Peacock Bungalow, Peacock Lane, Binfield
35 at Farley Hall, London Road, Binfield
77 at The Depot (Commercial Centre), Bracknell Lane West, Bracknell
40 at Albert Road Car Park, Bracknell
20 at The Iron Duke, Waterloo Place, Old Bakehouse Court, High Street, Crowthorne
216 at Land to the north of Eastern Road, Bracknell
Some of the sites above make sense like the Iron Duke which has been boarded up for quite some time. However it's the next list that I am most concerned about. When reading through the document I find that developed land includes parks and playing fields.
Other Land within Defined Settlements where policy SA 2 states 'Identified for housing and should be developed in accordance with the requirements identified in respect of each site and all general policy considerations.'
40 at Bay Drive, Bracknell
85 at The Football Ground, Larges Lane, Bracknell
10 at 24-30 Sandhurst Road, Crowthorne
100 at Land at Cricket Field Grove, Crowthorne
20 at Land at School Hill, Crowthorne
11 at Sandbanks, Longhill Road, Bracknell (Winkfield Parish)
75 at Land north of Cain Road, Binfield
12 at 152 New Road, Ascot (Winkfield Parish)
What caught my eye was the Football ground and Cricket Field Grove. This would mean a new location would have to be found for Bracknell FC (which has been looked at before).
Details of the sites can be viewed here and the maps are here.
Of course this is a consultation so these houses won't go ahead at all locations but it's worth getting in your thoughts about the developments now. Click on link here for your comments as they will be considered.

The way people speak

I was in Last Thursdays Bracknell Standard What Does Bracknell Think. This time the panel was asked
This week's question is about the way people speak.
The British Library is doing some research into the way pronunciations of words are changing and have noted that under 35's pronounce certain words in different ways to older people indicating that language is changing.
Here are some news stories to give some background -
With a lot of words there is no right and wrong but that doesn't stop some pronunciations really annoying us.
What we want to know this week is what people's pet hates about the way others speak are? For example, does it make you cringe when someone pronounces the word 'schedule' 'skedule', to the letter 'h' 'haitch'?
Or do you think it really doesn't matter and people should lighten up a bit?
And my answer;
I certainly don't use the English language perfectly, for example I say 'guard' in stead of 'god'. It doesn't bother me. You can't expect language not to change over time if it's in constant use.
The only thing that really bothers me is when people end every sentence with a raised emphasis on the end making the sentence sound like a question.
It also bothers me when people judge others as being less than themselves based on their use of language.
Let me know what you think?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blog & Newsweek: 20 Bracknell & national politics

Here is a selection of issues making headlines during the past few weeks:

Local News

Slough Town Hall could become new school

Recycling collection goes weekly - In wokingham.

MP pledge to villager's - MP Phillip Lee lends his support to the campaign against 3,500 homes, Should be an interesting meeting for him with the Tory council. See my blog Crowthorne and Binfield housing rebels
and Get Bracknell 'Plea to look again at housing plan rejected'.

Taxi drivers fight for cap on licences - Personally I support them in this, there are a lot of drivers and it must be hard to make a living. If the level is right then perhaps they could charge less as turnover would be higher.

Local Links

Jane is the one finds that Labour in Reading "wrong" says its Facebook administrator, I blogged about this in 'Former Reading MP threatened with Facebook block from local Labour.

Cllr John Ennis finds Willis's stealth tax designed to rake in £150.000 plus a year.

Tony Jones thinks that Reading Lib Dem Councilor Daisy's Dilemma: Back Bayes And Sacrifice Epps? - Personally I think Tony has forgotten a major factor which is hard work. Daisy Benson works very hard as do the other Reading Lib Dem councillors, I believe this will stand them in good stead. They don't need a campaign as they are on the doorstep all the time anyway. Doing case work and looking after the interests of the area.

Green Reading in Woolas Hypocrisy has some examples in Reading of how dirty local campaigns can get. Personally I really hate this type of politics. The sooner this Woolas ruling washes through all parties the better for all of us.

Liberal Burblings asks Question: When does a $10 million trip cost $2 billion? Answer: When Fox News is involved

National Link (Links of the day)

Labour Blogger Moments of Clarity asks Should we consider not standing in Oldham East and Saddleworth this time? - It would be interesting to have a two way by-election but I still prefer a 3 way one myself.

Caron's Musings asks How the US Republicans get it so, so wrong.

Gudio Fawkes has a video showing that Coulson Could Learn a Thing or Two

Left Foot Forward reports that the Public unaware of just how much those at the very top are pai.

And finally this weeks entertainment is provided by my chance to indulge myself in a political music video. This week it's The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy with their tale of California Uber Alles, enjoy; 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Governments Transparency website

I have been using the website today. This was launched as part of the government idea to have business plans rather that top down targets.

As a decentralising Liberal I very much like the idea of a power shift from government" to local experts like for example. Paying charities by results for the number of reformed prisoners if they bring down reoffending rates. These are good ideas because it is people on the ground in the area who deal with the day to day issues and they know how to help individuals and in turn the greater good rather than inflexible central government targets.

The website itself is unusually clear for a government website. I like the way you choose your subject at the top, click on 'show' and the get a start and end date and the status progress on a number of points within the plan. I hope people do use it. It certainly opens up government because no one wants to flick through pages of PDF's on government legislation when just trying to find out simple points and progress (apart from political geeks of course).

Although the website is subject to spin despite it's title and of course we the British public are very cynical about new government ideas. I still think this is a nice idea. Although I do understand the majority of people probably won't be interested or even know of its existence.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

An entertaining stress story

I was having an email debate about stress with friends. To me stress is relative, people who live in poverty, perhaps have to live with violence and are looking for their next meal to feed their children, survive with little support and living day to day, hand to mouth. That person would clearly have a higher level of constant stress than myself.
After this debate my brother picked up the email trail and added this funny story of stress. Enjoy.

I've just come across this debate, having returned from holiday. Middle class jobs are not stressful as long as you do not become financially reliant on them and there isn't a recession on! Otherwise it is easy to want to show oneself as willing to put in the extra effort / hours etc so you are not the one made redundant! Strangely for me, I don't really get stressed these days despite working in the middle of the city. Just because you are in central London doesn't mean you should be compelled to rush around everywhere, although it seems many do. Just getting briefly in someone's way and delaying their journey by 0.5 seconds is almost certain to bring an outraged 'tut'.
To recreate the feeling of intense stress however, simply perform the following actions. I tested them on holiday last week:
1. Go on holiday to Spain and plan to drive to various towns and cities, road trip style.
2. Order a mid-sized saloon as a hire car.
3. On arrival at the airport, discover the car you wanted was not available and experience excitement as you are told that it has been replaced by a brand new BMW 530d GT.
4. Allow excitement to be replaced by trepidation as you see the car is the size of an aircraft carrier.
5. Ignore partners advice to change car as you notice it has sport and sport+ buttons. Stress level 0.
6. Drive to Grenada to discover an utterly horrifying maze of one way, narrow back streets and dizzyingly complicated road systems. There is no apparent way out of the city. Stress level 3.
7. Embrace the first feelings of panic as car gets stuck down narrow a lane - try to remain calm as various locals shout and toot at you, shout back that they 'are not helping'. They do not appear to understand. Stress level 6.
8. Tell your partner you are going to abandon the car where it is and just hire another one. Stress level 5.
9. Rapidly retreat from above option as partner makes it clear it is not a valid option. Stress level 7.
10. Finally free car after folding back wing mirrors and doing a 254 point turn. By now locals have stopped tooting and have reached the quietly furious stage. Lots of crossed arms. Need to find way out. Now. Stress level 9.
11. Back to the road system. Yay stress level 10! The 'falling down' event horizon!
12. Start to giggle uncontrollably and use the taxi / bus lane system to exit city while waving at the annoyed looking taxi drivers.
After reading that my stress level returned to 0.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Former Reading MP threatened with Facebook block from local Labour party

Jane Griffiths former MP for Reading East is threatened with being blocked from the Reading Labour Facebook page for uploading some pictures. They don't allow comments on the page, something I'm always suspicious of. Jane Griffiths also reminisces about the bullying within the local party.
Activists and members are in this game not for some personal gain but because we think the party we have chosen can do some good in the community and the country, after all it's not a paid role. We disagree on how we get there and fall on difference sides of the political prospective. But with the means to an end of achieving our goal of helping our fellow man/woman.
Still it is getting better, isn't it?
Sometimes I wonder why we all bother to give up our time with all this going on. Damn politics.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Employing WebCameron

I'm actually disgusted that David Cameron is employing his filmmaker who produced the 'WebCameron' videos and his personal photographer in government. During a time when hundred's of thousand's will lose their jobs in government, Cameron finds a role for them, totally disgusting. Frankly the explanation that they could replace many departments individual photographers and save money is total rubbish. Why not redeploy those in government already instead.

To me it is simple, it looks like they could have been promised a roll in government and received one. Do we know how much they are being paid for these rolls? Are they being paid more than before? Did they take on the original jobs on a promise of getting rolls in government? This raises many questions. Frankly it makes me feel sick!

While I'm on this subject, I still can't believe that David Cameron is still employing Andy Coulson, It seems inconceivable that he didn't know about the phone tapping. Is Coulson really worth holding on to? I hope Tom Watson MP can keep the pressure up on Cameron see 'Letter to David Cameron regarding Andy Coulson'.

I would of been physically sick if it wasn't for Vince Cable ordering Ofcom to investigate News Corporation's plan to take full control of BSkyB. I'm very concerned that Sky News could turn into Fox news and thats apart from the power Murdochs media already have. I'm now expecting a full assault by the Murdoch press on Cable.

Now excuse me as I need a lie down.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ten tips for the Lib Dem part of the coalition

Julian Glover over at comment is free on the Guardian has 'Ten top Tips for the Liberal Democrats'. 10 points I totally agree with.

Point 4 is also one I never considered before. 'Join forces with Labour in Scotland next May. A Lab-Lib Dem coalition in Holyrood would prove that pluralism runs more than one way. Lib Dems aren't Tories in disguise', what a good idea, I hope there is enough votes to get a coalition in Holyrood.

EU Increase maternity leave 2nd reply

For completeness here is Catherine Bearder MEP reply to Bill Bloggs letter 'EU increase maternity leave policy'

Dear Bill,

Thank you for contacting Catherine regarding the vote last week in the European parliament on the revision of the pregnant workers directive. Catherine forwarded me this email and asked me to respond on her behalf and also pass on her good wishes. She hopes to be getting down to Bracknell soon. If you have any questions for Catherine in future it is best to contact her via rather than her cix account, which she is phasing out and doesn't check as regularly.


Catherine did not support the amendments you refer to. Her Liberal Democrat colleague in the European parliament Liz Lynne MEP tabled amendments to the proposals by the European Parliament's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee, calling for full pay to be taken out of the report. This directive was always intended, quite rightly, to provide minimum standards to protect pregnant workers and women who are breastfeeding, but some of the amendments in the report went further and did not take into account the different traditions of Member States. For example, some countries have maternity leave, some have paternity leave as well, and some have parental leave. This leave is paid in totally different ways and at different rates – some from the social security systems, some from businesses and some are a mixture.


Whilst Catherine supports the original purpose of the directive, her view is that we can only really impose minimum standards at EU level and it should be for Member States to go beyond this if they wish. This legislation is intended as Health and Safety legislation for women at work.


Catherine is, as you are, concerned about the enormous costs associated with the proposed changes and was pleased that a second, more detailed impact assessment was carried out in to the Women's Rights Committee's amendments which between now and 2030 would cost some €121 billion.  As I said before, the extension of maternity leave could cost the UK €3 billion (£2.5 billion) each year. This is a staggering amount at a time when we have to stabilise the economy and deficit after years of mismanagement and waste by the Labour Government.


The amendments as voted through by MEPs last week could have a significant effect on businesses and particularly small businesses that are struggling to fight the effects of the recession.


This is still the first step in a long negotiation process and now the text will go to the Council of Ministers for their consideration. I believe that the UK's coalition government will not approve these proposals as it would have a negative impact not only on the UK but other Member States also.


Thank you once again for contacting Catherine and I hope this response has been of use to you.


Yours sincerely,

Mark Wheeler

Office of Catherine Bearder MEP

Monday, 1 November 2010

Yes we can't Obama

President Obama famously said on the John Stewart Daily show, "Yes we can but...". 

Obama, oh what hopes the world had.

It turns out that Obama likes to let others push through his reforms and is happy to have them watered down. He only has himself to blame for Democrat voters not flooding out in their droves to vote for his party in the mid term elections. Obama has blown it.

The Republicans and the Tea Party supporters would of attacked Obama and the Democrats with the same vigour with or without Obama's watered down reforms. So Obama should of gone for it anyway, gone the whole hog. It's ok to have enemies in politics. It motivates your own side to and gives clarity to your positions.

However this is not all good news for the Republicans, they better watch out to. Because if the Tea Party are not happy with the new found power that control of the senate may give them then (and I suspect they won't be) I can see the Tea Party running as a 3rd Party with perhaps plenty of Libertarian right Wing Conservative Republicans standing as members of an all new Tea Party.

From movements do political parties grow. You have been warned.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Business rates white paper

The coalition government will produce a White Paper which will commit them to look at how local councils can have greater discretion over the business rates.

It is mad that councils have little control over the setting of rates locally. Town centres like Bracknell's could be more vibrant if councils can control their own rates. Business rates are set by government, they are collected by the councils and the funds are distributed nationally according to population and other means.

I don't have a problem with the government collecting some of this money and these funds being redistributed. But I do think that council's should be able to keep more of the rates collected and to vary the price so that they can keep rates down in certain areas or charge more to those business that can afford them. This would allow small business and independent shops to find their way back into our town centres and high streets rather than the endless charity shops and council should charge more for out of town retail parks.

Friday, 29 October 2010

My compass and the centre ground

Seeing as a blogger had used my link to Political Compass to do their blog see ' Stuck in the corner with...', I thought I should post mine.

Here it is.
I'm going to do this every year just to see if it changes.

Political compass is a very interesting web site, it is of course not perfect but its measure of how parties have moved from the left to the right over the years to get to the so called centre ground is revealing. I guess they have just moved with the voters while leaving some left leaning voters behind. Perhaps the Centre ground is not oddly enough in the centre.

And the UK Parties in 2010;


Crowthorne and Binfield housing rebels

I am very pleased to see the headline in the Standard 'Tories rebel over housing numbers'. Not least because I worry that the Conservatives have such a large majority that they can do whatever they want without significant opposition. So I'm pleased some councillors from the same party have stood up against them.

The rebels are Bracknell Forest Mayor Jim Leake and Bracknell Town Mayor Chas Baily, Councillors Tony Virgo, Robert McLean. Well done to all for asking questions of the majority Conservative group.

This is because of the planned housing in Binfield and the TRL site Crowthorne. I personally don't have a problem with the redevelopments of Broadmoor Hospital or Amen Corner because I do recognise that these areas to have scope for development and some housing is needed. But I can not understand why there is a plan to build at the Blue Mountain golf course (a popular course and venue) and at the TRL (as I can see this causing traffic problems and taking more green space). This bearing in mind that the Parks and Jeanette Park developments are still building homes.

Crowthorne Village Action Group can be found here;

There will be exhibitions in Crowthorne Baptist Church on November 23rd10am to 1pm, November 27th, from 10am to 1pm and in the Morgan Centre December 2, from 6pm to 9pm. The Binfield exhibitions will be at Binfield Parish Council offices November 17th from 6pm to 9pm, November 18 from 2pm to 5pm and November 20, from 9am to 1pm.

More details can be found at Get Bracknell here


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Boost the economy with bank lending

I understand that public spending, capital projects and private investment would boost the economy but there is something else that needs to be sorted in order to ensure that the big spending review gamble works.
As recent figures by the British Bankers Association have shown, mortgage take up continues to fall and banks continue to have low levels of lending to small business.
So we need the banks to step up their lending of mortgages so they are not as expensive for the lower deposits and banks to lend more willingly to small business. Won't that cover any loss to the economy through the loss of public spending?
Can't the government with its ownership of banking shares not have some influence on this?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

95 percent of people are Left Wing

I was listening to Iain Dales LBC radio show last night. One caller said that 95 percent of people are Left Wing.
I always find it interesting how some people delude themselves into thinking that their personal made-up fact is some how true and statistically accurate and can therefore make their point stronger.
Although this does bring up another question in my mind. How Left or Right Wing is the public, I could not find any UK surveys on this subject. But even if there was one I wonder how many would know where they truly stand.
Those of us that follow politics have a good idea as to which side of the political spectrum we fall on but it is less clear to those that don't follow politics amongst the general public. I think most people are Left and Right Wing on a subject by subject basis.
For example take Fred who for the sake of argument, believes everything he reads in the newspapers. Fred believes that bankers should pay a large amount of tax on their bonuses (Left Wing), Fred believes that benefits should be cut for those who are lazy and don't want to work (Right Wing), Fred believes we should not accept any more refugees (very Right Wing), Fred believes the NHS should be funded by the public purse (Left Wing). Fred believes that he is paying to much tax (If Low paid Left Wing if highly paid Right Wing). So you see the problem. People don't stick to Left or Right Wing principals but judge things on what they perceive as being fair or unfair to them.
This of course party explains the move by political parties to the centre and the more blurred lines between the parties. Hence resulting in Fred telling us that MP we are all the same.
If you are not sure what is Left-Wing or Right-Wing politics then have a read of this explanation here
A good way of seeing where you fall on the political spectrum is to use political compass test.

EU - Increase maternity leave policy

BillBloggs writes another letter.

A letter to Liberal Democrat MEP's Catherine Bearder and Sharon Bowles.

Dear MEPS,

I am appalled!

Here we are in a major recession with major cuts in Government expenditure, half a billion jobs to go in the public sector hence the need to rely on the private sector to create more jobs - and what do the bloom'in EU want to do? Hang another millstone around the necks of both public and private sector employers with increased maternity leave payments!

AND - that is on top of the EU wanting a 6% increase in their budget for which the UK would have to pay nearly a billion pounds a year more towards!

I do hope that neither of you two voted for any of this????!!!!!!

Personally, I would welcome more cuts to child related benefits in the UK, including maternity leave! Why? Because there are 6.8 billion people on this finite planet of ours already.

Many of them in the richer countries are consuming at the rate of 2, some even 3, and a few even at 5 planets! By 2050 there is projected to be 9 -10 billion people on our planet - i.e. 50% more - all of whom will still be seeking to get richer by yet more economic growth - and thus to be able to consume even more limited resources.

Yet, we are also supposed to be cutting CO2 emissions globally by well over 50% by 2050.

Yet, every new human arriving on our planet between now and then will be adding to those emissions...............And those arriving in the wealthier countries, like the UK and the rest of the EU, will consume a lot more and emit a lot more CO2 than those arriving elsewhere.......So, how is this going to work then?

I ask you, arguing from the standpoint of Sustainability and Climate Change alone, should the EU/UK be encouraging childbirth by increasing maternity leave benefits?

Why exactly is it being proposed?

The most common argument I hear in favour is that we need to encourage more children so that they will pay for better pensions for us when we get old That is based on the logic of the madhouse.

They will all grow old and want even better pensions too, so we will need ever more people ad infinitum - which is clearly unsustainable on a finite planet. This is a ponzi scheme.

It is worse than pyramid selling!

When we in the UK are already stressed by an overpopulation problem, caused chiefly by immigration, this argument makes no more sense than to suggest that we need to increase our numbers so that we don't get outnumbered by immigrants!

Perhaps the real reason behind all this is the EU want more new citizens so as to increase their budget still further, and spread their member states national debts upon?!

Arguing from the same standpoint, I would now like to put several questions on child based benefits in general to you;

Should we really be encouraging families in the UK to have more children by offering parents child based benefits that increase with the quantity of their offspring? So, in principal, shouldn't we move towards stopping all child based benefits after the first child?

Clearly this can only be done gradually from where we are now in the UK. The coalition have made a start, thankfully, but have merely scratched the surface! (How many £billions/annum would that save when we finally got there?)

Therefore, apart from helping all parents universally for their first child, it seems to me that (were we able to go back to the beginning again rather than starting from where we are now!) the only absolutely fair, perfectly reasonable and logically sound reason to assist parents financially beyond that is solely on the basis of need. The state should be acting as a taxpayer funded charity organisation, only upon the unexpected loss of employment or unfortunate onset of ill health etc - when and while the parents are struggling to support themselves, let alone more children than their first child. Such assistance should never ever be provided indefinitely except in extreme cases.

Might you agree with this supposition, in principle at least?

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on these matters!

Yours sincerely,

Bill Bloggs


And a very speedy same day reply from Sharon Bowles MEP Office;

Dear Mr Dowling,

Thank you for your email.

Sharon did not support amendments in the Parliament to the Pregnant Workers Directive which sought to provide 20 weeks full time maternity pay. While she supports moves for increased gender equality and for the safeguarding of pregnant women's rights in the workplace, these amendments are just not financially viable to introduce at this time in the economic recovery.

The implementation in the UK alone is estimated to cost close to £2bn. This is not only very costly for the UK, but to impose this stipulation across the European Union is unfair on those Member States who do not have the budgetary resources to support it.

Further to this, implementing this particular amendment during a time of economic constraint may lead to increased discrimination against women securing jobs as maternity leave packages would cost employers more than ever before. Sharon has met with the Federation of Small Businesses on this matter who estimates each pregnancy will cost employers on average £7000.

Thank you once again for contacting Sharon and I hope this response has been of use to you.

Yours sincerely,

Constituency Office Manager

Office of Sharon Bowles MEP, Liberal Democrat Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Member of the European Parliament for South East England


Posted on behalf of Bill Bloggs who is a member of the
and Green Peace