Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The occasional idea...A local election day‏

The general election will probably be held during the local elections on May 6th. If it is then many councillors and candidates in local elections will be very pleased as turnout will be up. Others wont because their parties or local MP performance may effect their position even if they have been a good councillor.

I do however see some problems with this as local election votes will be distorted more so than a normal local election by national politics. Meanwhile other councils have local elections over the next few years in May (and during European elections in June 2014).

Local elections often do not receive a great deal of coverage in the media and are overshadowed during a general election.

Perhaps if there was only one date for local elections, held every 4 years then full press coverage could be given to it. Local elections would receive the full election night treatment and coverage giving them more exposure. National papers could also cover local elections. A national date could be used for party campaigns. The date will be known to the public as this will become a common event every 4 years. It would not be as affected by national issues not related to councillors control. There would be less elections which may encourage people to vote. Perhaps local elections would be seen as more important they they are currently seen due to this change.

Todays Link is Governmentitus. Daniel1979 Strap line is 'Sick of the Government? So am I. Let's Bring them down!' So I think we know where he stands on Labour.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chancellors debate and rose-tinted political glasses

I watched the Channel 4 chancellors debate while chatting on MarkReckons Live debate here and watched the Twitter debate live during the program. I was struck by how supporters from each party thought there man did best and their man won. I also read this Tweet from Iain Dale after it was all over 'So, LibDems think Cable won, Lefties think Darling did and Tories think Osborne did. Wow. Thanks for that chaps. Would never have thunk it.' Yep Iain this is how many supporters always react (not all but many).

Well this is the problem with us supporters of political parties. It's so hard to be objective. OK I also thought Vince Cable within the context of the debate came across better than Osborne or Darling. Political supporters crowd their view by factoring in how they feel about the politicians and their policies already. However they do not separate this in general from the performance on the day.

Saying who won really doesn't get us anywhere. It's who the public generally agreed with that matters, and this was Vince Cable (even if you yourself disagree with what he says). I believe I'm being fair as for example I freely admit that Nick Clegg did not perform as well as Brown or Cameron on the Politics show leader specials by a fair margin. I don't know if Brown won or Cameron won these but Clegg didn't, so I am not simply following some party line because Vince is our man.

I just wish supporters could take off their rose-tinted political glasses and see what the public see. If we don't then we won't learn anything new about trying to win the publics vote. I expect the same thing will happen again during the leader debates. It will be again, a draw from the ranks of party supporters no matter what actually happens.

Todays link is Green Gabbles a blog run by Steve Gabbs a Green blogger and a fellow Bracknell blogger.

Monday, 29 March 2010

new features to Bracknell blog‏

I have decided to add some new feature post to the blog. This is because I have now been blogging since May 09 (so a year once the general election is over) and have read a number of blogs which has inspired a number of ideas. I think it's now time to improve my blog and add these extra features to keep the blog fresh.

New features will be

Tweet highlight

Sometimes I will write a point on tweeter that while short (140 characters) does make a relevant or short point that perhaps Bracknell blog readers would like to comment on. Also not everyone who reads blogs are on twitter and this seems a little unfair to not involve people in these discussions.

Food for thought

I'm always coming across facts which may not seem related but often they are, if you compare them. These won't really be comments or a breakdown of the detail, just food for thought.

The occasional idea

Sometimes I have sudden Ideas on what we could do to improve society or our life's. I will post these as and when these come to mind. Problem is like may of us I don't write my ideas down and I then forget them. So in future I'm writing them down on the blog for open comments and for your ideas to be added to mine.

Today's Link

I don't run a regular feature on links to other sites. I don't see the need for me to do this as plenty of Blogs already do. Instead I will have a link of the day at the bottom of every post. This link will be unrelated to the article but will link to a web site of general interest with a small explanation or an article of interest within the blogs or the press.

All the above features will be posted as and when with the exception of today's link which will feature at the bottom of every post. I will continue to do my Local Blog posts as well as my general blog articles, comment and reports.

Today's Link

Reading List or maintained by Oranjepan. Reading List is a focal point and summary of all the local blogs in Reading and also Berkshire. This blog keeps rankings of the monthly Berkshire blogosphere and givens you the full views from all parties on recent local and national stories. It also has a handy listing of local blogs on the right.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Daily Mail Song

If Obama was going to make an address to the Iranian people

If Obama was going to make an address to the Iranian people, I think it should go something like this...

'I say this to the Iranian people: do not compare yourselves with others, for if you do, you will think yourselves equal to your neighbours, and this is not so.

Do not look towards India and Pakistan, which already possess nuclear weapons but are not signatories of the NNPT; they are our allies and we do not hold them to the same standards as you.

Do not compare yourselves with Israel, for even though they too have nuclear weapons. An estimated 200 by some counts. Estimated because Israel refuse to even admit they even have any, let alone sign the NNPT. The Israelis are our special friends and can do as they wish.

Lastly, do not compare yourselves to America. America is actively supplying unlimited arms and finances to your sworn enemy Israel. America is a country that has invaded and occupied two of your neighbours. The only country in the history of the world to actually use atomic weapons, and those against civilians, and although we have at least 5000 nuclear weapons, many of them pointed at you, we say to you, 'do as we say, not as we do'.

For we are the United States of America.'

Israel's official policy is that they neither confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons thought everyone knows they do. This means they don't need to sign up to the NNPT(Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). The US congress office of technology also lists them as having an active chemical and biological research programme.

I guess its not a surprise considering Israel are not exactly friendly with their neighbours. If I were American I would be a little worried that the US pro-Israel lobby AIPAC seems to have more say on their foreign policy than the president does. The Americans reacted angrily to announcements that 1600 new Israeli homes would be built on occupied land during Biden's visit, citing it as insulting. But they are backing down already.

Can't really blame the Palestinians for being annoyed. How would you feel if you were forcibly removed from your street, had your home knocked down and then had your land given to a foreign power, base on a religious right to be there? Pretty upset I would imagine.

Its strange that the US were so quick to jump into Iraq to 'free' the Iraqi people form the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, yet their 'friendship' with Israel doesn't allow for extending that same concern for liberty to the Palestinians. That's why many around the world dislike the US. Their propaganda is embarrassingly see-through.

I recall Israel saying it shouldn't have to sign up (to the NNPT) or confirm they had weapons because it was an invasion of their privacy! They then claimed Iran should be attacked in a pre-emptive strike due to their nuclear capacity (which, according to information Iran has made publicly available, Gives Iran approximately 20% of the ability to build a nuclear weapon!) Iran has even offered to ship/sell their nuclear production abroad in order for other countries to turn it into nuclear power.

You may want to watch this its a western film about what its actually like trying to run the ambulance service in Palestine.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Sixth Formers have their say with Bracknell PPC's‏

I attending the Have your say question time event at Easthampstead Park Community School in Bracknell on 24th March 2010 organised by Sixth form Student Andrew Best. This event was well attended although Andrew Best wished that more had come. I agree but I was pleased to see an almost full room.

The meeting was chaired by Headteacher: Gordon Cunningham. The format was a two minute speech from each of the candidates then a question and answer session.

The PPC's at this event were;

Conservative, Dr Philip Lee
Labour’s John Piasecki
Liberal Democrat, Ray Earwicker
Green Party's David Young
UKIP's Murray Barter
BNP's Mark Burke.

Speeches were not all along party lines. David Young was up first. talked about his children and about how if you work hard like them you can achieve anything. He related this to the wellbeing of the planet.

Next up was Ray Earwicker. He explained a bit about his history in the constituency and described the Lib Dems as the alternative two the other two parties. He explained the voting system and why it should be changed. he also talked about civil liberties and about Britain's place in the world and compared the EU administration to the Birmingham city council. He didn't however mention Tuition Fees to the sixth form audience.

Next John Piasecki. John spoke about his history in the community. He also listed al the things Labour had done and mentioned what he believed the Tories were wrong on and their past failures.

Phillip Lee said that he was the black sleep of the family because of his long 9 years at university studying to become a doctor. He said that we had responsibility for our own life's. He concentrated on Low taxation, small government and his concern for the old and the valuable. He said that he would ensure Bracknell remains a great place to live.

Mark Burke of the BNP was next. He told his story about being an immigrant from Ireland and now many people decided to get out of Ireland and related this to the UK now. He said the British people had lost self belief. He also spoke about BNP's bad image can said that they are a 21st Century Party. Mark did not come across as the kind BNP candidate I may of expected and he was treat the same as any other candidate.

UKIP's Murray Barter used statistics about the British population growth and how we will need 16% of everything in a generations time. Said it was not about race but about space(a good line). He said said the main parties had let us down by not holding an EU referendum and talked about Britain's payments into the EU and also about sorting out the benefits system.

After the speeches there was a break.

During the break I spoke to a number of Sixth form students and I was impressed with their knowledge of subjects like PR and FPTP. I did get the impression that some student were shy when asking questions although towards the end many braved a question. This maybe because the student were listening to the answers and just found it difficult to approach a question.

The Questions (from here on in I will just use the parties as it is easier to follow).

Q1. Parties views on education.

Lib Dems said that abolishing tuition fees was a long term commitment.

UKIP said there would not be any targets relying on the market.

Labour mentioned what they had done and also what used to happen before New Labour came to power.

Tories talked about apprenticeships and that they will back you if you work hard.

BNP talked about people going aboard and the debt overspending affecting young people

Greens - Free education and a policy of no private schools. Paid by higher income tax and No NI cap. Also talked about the detail of 54 pages of policy.

Labour hit back by saying that apprenticeships had trebled.

Tories said there are 1 million young people not working.

Q2 was from a Garth Hill Student and asked about Bracknell's Town Centre

Labour said the plans were too large and talked about shops opening later.

Lib's said this was a missed chance and explained the detail behind why the plans had not happened and that there was no council input due to the developers involved.

BNP said Bracknell was a 50's soulless town centre

Greens said that this is not really a subject for PPC and said it was a trivial question (perhaps a mistake saying trivial) He said this is a council matter but did add details about no private car parks and little public transport in the new plans. He also said we wont be driving cars in 50 years time.

UKIP said there wasn't anything for young people in town and that more was needed.

Tories said that it was positive as the town was still being developed as only 4 out of 24 plans now remain. Phillip was proud of the ambition and disagree with the Lib Dems on the developers. Phillip said a new supermarket will be coming to Bracknell town.

Greens said that there were some good local youth provision and that this is where it should be.

Labour defended the car parks and agreed on public transport with the Greens. Talking about a range of shops and youth employment.

Q3 Mackay, would you do the same?

Tory Believed in renting at Westminster as there will be some late night votes.

BNP attacked the politicians and talked about renting a small place and about public service.

UKIP would bring the system forward to a 9 to 5 systems instead of starting at noon on a Monday. leaving earlier meant MP's could use public transport.

Greens said well done to Lib Dems for exposing Andrew Mackay. He talked about public transport and also about how much holiday MP's get from parliament (81days). He also said that MP's were not there Friday.

Libs said there should be a hostel for MP's and there should be allowances to replace expenses. He also mention that Andrew Mackay did not hold any surgeries and that the MP should be local.

Labour talked about the capital gains made on properties and that this should be paid back. he went with renting. spoke about how the fees office were blamed when it was the MP's that cause the Fees office to react the way it did.

Q4 High unemployment related to cross boarder employment?

BNP need job creation, what are the kind of jobs on offer spoke about exports and manufacturing (and not about immigration)

Libs Said that some migrants are welcome re NHS. Balance and that its a two way thing. He also said that Britain should of been more firm on Eastern European controls and that the government lacked controls (although did not mention the border controls policy).

UKIP said that immigrants had taken full advantage and said the problem was complete freedom of movement.

Greens talked about fruit picking and that young people didn't do this while on holiday. the Green new deal and listed training people to insulate houses and about how refugees need our help including environmental refugees. At this point David Young wondered off here and had to be brought back on track.

Tories said that it was a problem if transition and open doors. He said Poles were laying down roots. he also said that a quarter of British people are inactive and related this to dependency culture and about small government.

Labour talked about low wage rates and that if you had a choice of expensive British picked fruit or cheaper Polish picked fruit, people would choose the polish fruit. He also talked about EU trade and about British who work in the EU.

UKIP hit back saying you could still have free trade.

BNP said the EU was like a soviet high state which the UK had been sucked into.

UKIP said that the EU costs 17million a day

Libs said that if you include payments back its £1 a week.

Q5 Cadburys

Tories said that this was due to the weakness of the pound and that Britain also buys companies aboard. Phillip said this case did have some issues but that we should not be protectionist and lower taxes and costs would help.

Labour agreed with Phillip and talked about government support where contracts had been won in Britain for manufacture here by foreign companies.

Libs mentioned that this should not of been paid for by a government owned bank.

Q6 Health space

Greens said that Heatherwood had been going down hill over a long period of time.

Tories Spoke about chronic illness facilities. Spoke about the new Health space and about the cancer treatment centre was the right direction. He said that hospitals should cater for a million people not the current 600,000 people. As there should be more prevention and smaller units were needed. He said that Wrexham Park hospital was a disgraces and suggest that it is best to visit the other local hospitals. He said compacting the site at Heatherwood was the right move using the land more efficiency. He hoped to deliver better healthcare.

Libs said that the plans for the Healthspace was years behind. Sighting a lack of interaction between the trusts. He said that it just happened and explained Wrexham Parks current financial problems. He also said that PFI capital would be at a massive costs.

Labour spoke about the good news of the Healthspace and Cancer care. He said that it was a small hospital. He said it was better t keep people healthy using primary care and that less hospitals will be needed. He also said that there is a choice of hospitals.

At the end the Mayor Bob Wade gave a very good speech listing famous quotes which he used to demonstrated how important voting and democracy is (I will publish this speech on another post as I thought it was very entertaining).

The Sixth Formers all listen to the PPC's and all candidates preformed well. I think that perhaps David Young did lose some of the audience and missed an opportunity with the young voters, which was a shame.

I was very impressed with the knowledge of the Head teacher: Gordon Cunningham, he examined some of the answers and was very fair to all. I suggested to him that this happens at every General Election as I think it could be very useful for first time voters.

Andrew Best I believe will go far. He want to go into journalism although I would love to see him as a politician. I didn't think of this at the time but yesterday someone suggested to me that people voted at the beginning of the event and then voted at the end to see if anyone had changed their minds. I will let them know this suggestion just encase any other future events are held.

Old Bracknell by-election result a Labour win by just 10 votes

We I lost but that was too be expected as this is very much a Labour/Tory seat.

Roy John Bailey of the Labour party won by just 10 votes. congratulations to Roy and commiserations to Frances Moody. Both candidates campaigned hard and would of both of been worthy winners.

The Green party candidate Adrian Michael Haffegee was also very impressive. I wish all council elections was full of this quality of candidate.

The results are;

Labour 380
Tory 370
Lib Dems 107
Greens 49

Turnout was 22.4%

This is just a quite post so I would add that the Lib Dem vote increases from 9% to 12% (rounded). As you can see voting can be close and your vote can make a difference.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tomorrow is the by-election in Old Bracknell. Please vote!

I have blogged about the old Bracknell by-election I am standing in a by election for Old Bracknell and My leaflet for Old Bracknell and review‏. 

I am currently suffering from  man flu which as you know is proven to not be a myth and is very macho. But its also not helpful to be ill during a campaign.

I will be standing outside both the polling stations telling, feel free to say hello;

I'm at The Rectory Lane, Community Centre from 7am to 11am and again from 6pm to 10pm

I will be at the Baptist Church, South Hill Road at 11am to noon and again from 2pm to 6pm.

I wish all the candidates luck and I will report on the result as soon as possible.

I would not expect the turnout to be very high for a parish council election and I think these tweets I did refect that fact. I of course hope this is not the case. I thought I would share it with my blog readers.

Tweet 1: Yesterday I delivered my last leaflet for Old Bracknell election or tried to. The lady gave it back to me saying that she doesn't care.

Tweet 2: So I said to her do you care about how much council tax you pay or the services you get, she said no.

Tweet 3: Should I inform the council that this lady does need any services and ask them to increase her council tax after all she doesn't care?

I think its important to vote because the decision made by your elected representatives does make a difference to your life and what elected official does may or may not be inline with your principals. So if you do live in Old Bracknell please do take an interest and vote on who you want to be working for you and representing you.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Israel would let Britain copy its citizens passports for murder operations?

I have just been driving home listening to BBC Five Live. I caught the end of an interview with an Israeli politician who is the leader of one of the Israeli political parties. This interview was about Britains decision to expel an Israeli diplomat. This was after British passports were copied and used in an Israeli hit squad to kill Mr Mabhouh who was the founder of Hamas's military wing. This happened in his hotel room in Dubai on 19 January 2010.

What he said was unreal, he said that Israel would accept it if Britain used Israeli passports for any hit squad against a terrorist. Some how I don't Think so! If the shoe was on the other foot I expect Israel would be much harder on Britain than Britain on Israel.

Is it me or does it seem as if Israel feels it can do whatever it wants and the USA will not do anything to stop it other then say quietly too them, please don't do that?

Well done David Miliband on taking this discision at least some action has been taken. David said today that "Its Intolerable that a friend of the UK should operate this way." With friends like these.......

Monday, 22 March 2010

Local Blog: Question Times with Bracknells PPC's‏

There are now a number of growing question time events to envolving Bracknell constituency PPC's.

Today there is an event at Coopers Hill Community Centre in Crowthorne to debate local health Issues. This includes 4 national parties (Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP) althought I believe the UKIP candidate was unable to attend.

This Wednesday (24th March)at Easthampstead Park School in Ringmead, Great Hollands, first time voters (sixth form students) will be questioning the PPC's, The PPC's attending are;

Conservative, Dr Philip Lee
Labour’s John Piasecki
Liberal Democrat, Ray Earwicker
Green Party's David Young
UKIP's Murray Barter
BNP's Mark Burke.

This event is organised by Andrew Best who is a member of the sixth form head team. Sixth form students from around Bracknell, Crowthorne and Sandhurst can attend and they may also email in questions using .

I will be at this event and will report back on any answers of interest from any of the candidates.

A radio event is also in the pipeline for mid April and when I have the details I will report it here. Personally I am hoping for a full question time with the PPC's open to all of the consistency electorate. If this does happen then I will cover the event.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The which celebrity do you really, really hate meme

I have been Tagged by Mark Reckons on his blog postThe which celebrity do you really, really hate meme.

The rules for this meme taken from Marks Reckons blog are;

They must be famous and also that you have never met them. I am going to exclude politicians or people you hate for political reasons too. It has to be just based around their face or demeanour or something else equally shallow and irrational! And you can only pick one so if you have loads it has to be the one you hate the most. However irrational though you must justify your choice and try and persuade the rest of us of the rightness of your cause!

Right its Russell Grant.

I can remember taking a distinct dislike to him when I first saw him on breakfast TV back in the 80's . It was his hair (and still is) the way he spoke, how he holds himself. These are not fair reasons but luckly later in life I developed a dislike of Astrology because its just a load of old rubbish. Russell Grant now appears in paper columns including local ones and has the odd spot on the radio.

Russell also has whole empire including telephone Horoscopes and has a team of Live Psychics and Mediums, only £1.50 a minute! This empire also includes Russell Grant DS game and a Russel Grant Iphone App as well as the ususal books. He can even use your star sign to help you find a job and fix your love life. Great, thanks Russell.

I found this quite hard as there really aren't that many people I hate or dislike. I would of posted this about Cliff Richard but I have meet him. Or rather he slammed a car door into my legs in Weybridge and said nothing to me. Not that I liked him already (its his neck and how happy he is, oh and the music).

To continue this look into this phenomenon I now meme the following;.

Steve at Green Gabbles

Lisa at Spinderplant88
Walaa Idris at Walaa Idris blog
Nich Starling who is the Norfolk Blogger

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Can the right to strike be scrapped?

Ollie Crowmwell who is an independant Conservative blogger who posts at The Reg Rag has written an excellent article called 'It is time to scrap the right to strike and restore the right to manage'. This is in light of the recent British Airways strike and a possible railway signal workers strike.

Ollie Crowmwell opens with;

'Much has been said about the right to strike, some even saying "it is a fundamental human right" without which workers would be little more than serfs or slaves. This is errant nonsense. Of course any individual worker has the absolute right to withdraw his labour, nobody is forced to work for anybody in this country, any worker who does not like the terms and conditions of his or her employer may give notice and having fulfilled their contractual notice period are completely free to work elsewhere.'

After making his case he concludes;

'Unions cannot have it both ways, they claim to demand the right to strike to ‘protect the workers’ from management imposed changes to terms and conditions but in most cases they seek to use it to force management into changing terms and conditions in their favour. Employment law protects the workers, unions do not, they are often led by politically motivated socialists who in many cases do not even believe in the right of the company to exist and would seek to see it in state hands.

The right to manage should be absolute and belong to the owners of the business or their delegates.'

I do understand why he believes the market can decide and I also believe that this is a liberal point of view. Workers would still have the right to work to rule.

I also believe that its not a good idea for British Airways to have a strike at this time see On the twelfth day of Christmas Strikes. I would also add that British Airways do offer great terms for their employees but their management does seem to be detached from it employees and that appears to be the main problem. Members of staff won't talk about the BA problems on television because they fear for the repercussions on them, this demostrates that there are other fundamental problems. British Airways are also well know for spending money not just on staff but also inefficiently on the whole structure of the organisation and management.

However I also agree that this is now a right of workers to join a union and remove there labour on mass for the right reasons. Perhaps if a business is making a loss for example then this right could be held and only used if business are making a profit?

But I don't think it is now possible to remove the right to strike. If a government tried to remove this right then they would have industrial action on a scale worse than the miners strike or the strikes in the states during the great depression. Workers who are members of unions would strike against this law before it was introduced and afterwards whether its against the law or not. There would be riots in the streets.

It would be against the law for unions to do this as its not related to action by the employer over employee but the people would fight this on their own backs. Unions wouldn't have to call for action but the members of those unions could organise it independently. This could have the surprising effect of causing a new rise of the Left.

So for those reasons I would not scrap the right to strike.

Todays link is Constantly Furious who swears alot and is very angry about many subjects in this world but he is also very entertaining and not scared of any subject. According to his Political Spectrum Quiz results he is a Far-Right Social Libertarian, figure that out.

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Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Libertarian Party test‏ and practical Liberalism

The UK Libertarian Party have a very useful test too see how Liberal you are here are my results;

Well done!
You scored 80% (well its 70% see why below)
You are a liberal

1. We should raise taxes on the rich so we can redistribute wealth to the poor? Answer No

Your answer was liberal

It is illiberal for people to be taxed at a different rate based on their income. Also rich people are the most mobile members of society. If they are over-taxed they will simply move themselves, their assets and capital offshore. Which will in turn decrease investment in the country.

2. We should get rid of the minimum wage? Answer No

Your answer was illiberal

The minimum wage is an illiberal restriction on free trade. It also places an artificial value on the cost of labour which makes it more difficult for low skilled workers to find work, and therefore gain experience and training.

3. The state should bailout large corporations in financial distress? Answer No

Your answer was liberal

This is an illiberal incursion on the free market — at the taxpayer's expense. No company should ever receive a taxpayer backed bailout. It encourages bad financial practices and corruption between the state, corporations and unions.

4. It should be illegal for members of the public to own guns? Answer Yes

Your answer was illiberal

In a liberal country people can protect themselves as they see fit. Remember if someone owns a gun it does not mean they will murder anyone. In addition it is very dangerous for a people to allow their state to have a monopoly over weaponry and therefore force.

5. People who hold racist or extreme views should be allowed to publicly express their ideas? Answer Yes

Your answer was liberal

To not would be a gross and illiberal infringement on freedom of speech. And it sets a dangerous precedent for further reducing freedom of speech. It must be noted that defining things as extreme or dangerous is a purely subjective activity. Therefore the state will only define things as extreme if they pose a threat to it. But not necessarily to the people.

6. The state should make people change their behaviour to tackle climate change? Answer No

Your answer was liberal

In a liberal society the state will not force any law abiding person to behave in a certain way as this is an infringement on freedom of thought and action. This is an especially acute issue when you consider there is still great debate about whether climate change is caused directly by human action. People should note that the state have a lot to gain in terms of social control from climate change catastrophe. Along with large corporations who will find it easier to cope with environmental regulations than their smaller competitors.

7. It is wrong for the police to retain the DNA of anyone not serving a prison sentence? Answer Yes

Your answer was liberal

There is no reason why in a liberal society that the state should be allowed to steal the property of a person when they have not been convicted of any crime or are currently serving a prison sentence.

8. The state should ban people from watching violent pornography? Answer No

Your answer was liberal

This is an illiberal incursion on freedom of thought. It is not the business of the state to involve itself in the sexual preferences of consenting adults.

9. It is wrong for democratic nations to overthrow foreign dictators? Answer Yes

Your answer was liberal

It is illiberal, and a sign of gross arrogance, for one state to impose their will on another in this way. These issues are for the people of said state to resolve themselves with their leader(s).

10. Free market capitalism should be forced on other nations to help create a better world? Answer No

Your answer was liberal

It is illiberal for one state to impose their way of life on another. A liberal foreign policy involves free trade with all willing participants. It does not involve forcing states to behave in a certain way if they do not wish to.

It's not easy to say a straight yes or no to some of these questions because I would say its 50 50 for me on a few of these questions. Question 1, I would simply not tax the poor but I do believe the richest people pay the least amount of tax and they should n my view pay a fair share so I'm say 5% less liberal there.

Question 3, I wouldn't bailout large corporations in most cases as this does encourage bad management, however I would of bailed out the banks as this could of most businesses and the whole economy that seem very illiberal. so again its 5% so therefore I award myself 70% with these amendments (80% less 10%).

Question 6, I do believe there is climate change so im not sure about LPUK answer here on 'social control from climate change' I just think this should not be forced upon people and education and argument can be used here.

So for the above reasons I believe I'm not as Liberal as I would like to be for practical reasons and I actually think that the above demonstrates that it is impossible to be 100% Liberal when faced with the realities of the world. I personally try to be Liberal but I do believe in small socialism like a benefit safety net or even sometimes big socialism like the NHS. Therefore I can't claim to be 100% Liberal. This is a problem for LPUK as some of their great ideas are not fully workable just like some of the ideas in full socialism, full capitalism, full communism or full fascism.

I would add that I have a soft spot for the Libertarian Party UK who believe the Liberal Democrats are not Liberal. I agree natually with many of their policies like small government. But unlike LPUK, I would say the Lib Dems are Liberal but not as Liberal as LPUK, just a bit more practical and socialist with a small 's'.

Please do let me know your results at

Today's Link
Is to Duncan Scott who blogs at Split Horizons. Duncans tweet directed my attention to this Libertarian Test (he is 80 percent Libertarian).

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

My leaflet for Old Bracknell and review‏

Below is a copy of my leaflet to get myself elected as a Town Councillor for the Old Bracknell ward.

I also include the original words I wrote which didn't all fit onto the leaflet just so you can get an idea of how political leaflets may be edited.

Why I am Standing for you

I am standing because I believe in the good work of the Town Council and because I would like to go on and represent the people of Bracknell at the Borough council in the May 2011 local elections. I am a user of the local Parks and also believe in youth work as my family when they lived in Crowthorne used to run the Ravenswood youth centre. I understand youth issues as I myself was a badly behaved as a teenager and because of this had to retake my GCSE at college.

My father in law also died of alcohol related problems so I can relate to alcohol and drug abuse.
I have been involved in the local campaigns to keep Heatherwood Hospital open and the Look In Cafe through my links with campaigners on the Bracknell Blog ( I want to do all I can to make a difference and do what's right at a local level for Bracknell as this is my home and I believe my home could be even better.

As you can see from the above the part about my father was removed, this was changed to a close relative and then removed as there was not enough room and perhaps going on about myself is not appropriate.

About me

I have lived in or near Bracknell for most of my life (also lived in Crowthorne). I went to Great Holland's school and was brought up in Great Holland's until I moved to Crowthorne with my parents attending Edgbarrow School. I later attended Bracknell and Wokingham College where I studied a National Diploma in Computer Studies.

I worked in Bracknell when I left College but was later made redundant during the recession in the early 90's. After a period of looking for a job I found work outside of the Bracknell area having to commute to work within the M25.
When I left home I moved to Farnborough but again worked In Bracknell. I now live in Bracknell again in a one bedroom flat near the town centre where I have lived for several years. I how work as an Accountant near Maidenhead.

Again I did go on to much here for example there is no point in me writing phases such as 'After a period of looking for a job '.

Why Im standing for the Liberal Democrats

I joined the Liberal Democrats not because I thought this was the best way to get into some kind of power (if that was the case I would of joined the conservative or Labour Party) but because I believe in the Principals of the party of Open Government and society, Fairness for Families and community, making work pay to reduce benefits and in Liberal values which really protect the citizens of Britain.

I also believe that at a local level we need members of other parties in the Council to provide additional voices. I am also not a party robot and will stick up for people locally and also will not simply dismiss the good ideas that members of other parties may have in order to hold a party line. The Liberal Democrats give me that flexibility.

I'm pleased with this paragraph which is why its not required too many been changes. I could of added a whole bunch of things about national policy but I didn't because these are not really relevant to a council election. Although these are just some of the reasons why I am standing as a Liberal Democrat more reasons that I agree with can be read at Jennie Rigg's blog Why Should I Vote Lib Dem? Part 1: Persuading TeaKay .

In my comments I wanted to be as positive and honest as possible as I don't believe I should have a go at the town council when for the most part they do a good job. Negative campaigning is a big moan by the public however parties use it because they believe it works. The most important thing to write down is what you would do and why, this does mean you have to mention the negative problems within a local area.

Its actually very hard to write for a leaflet, for people who know nothing about you and to get across the kind of information that tells them what kind of councillor you would be. For example I should of added that I would knock on doors regularly to keep in touch with any issues within the ward. Still I am learning all the time and next time I will do a better job of any leaflet that I write. I would also try to get some better pictures of myself, I really don't photograph well enough.

My leaflet is below pages one and two, click on to enlarge;

Monday, 15 March 2010

Betting on Clegg a non story‏

The sun has an exclusive story 'And it’s Kauto Star, Denman..and Nick Clegg’s fading ' But this is such a non story. The article states that 'Nick Clegg was left long-faced yesterday as bookies revealed a QUARTER of voters have never even heard of the Lib Dem leader.' But when you read on you discover that this was not a survey of the voting public but a Ladbrokes poll of 1,000 of their own punters. Not a surprised then that more know which horse is favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Personally I have never heard of Kauto Star but then again I'm not a follower of horse racing.

So lets get this clear, this 'exclusive' story is not voters after all but Ladbrokes own punters who may vote. It's another example of a non story, which is spun and printed in one of Britain's biased newspapers.

Plenty of people don't know who many politicians are in general. Would every member of the public know who George Osborne is? I would be willing to bet that a significant percentage don't. A higher percentage of people didn't vote in the last general election 35.9% (of the people eligible to vote only 61.4% did). This was before the expenses scandal, so I would bet that many people who didn't vote have absolutely no interest in politics and therefore would not know or care who the Lib Dem leader is. How many of this 25% are the same people who didn't vote? I bet a high percentage. Do we really believe that everyone in the run up to the 2005 general election knew who Michael Howard was?

I expect this will be more and more the case at every general election unless we can get people switched on to politics. This seems unlikely because if you look at the democracies that don't have compulsory voting then we can see that interest (based on voting) has decreased. This is even the case when people were queuing to elect Barack Obama were the vote was less than even ours in the UK.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Local Blog: Morgan Rec Crowthorne parish council response‏

The Crowthorne Parish Council have sent me a press release in answer to this story 'Parish council meeting disrupted by public unhappy with shelter plans'.

Crowthorne Parish Council 2nd March 2010

Playbuilder Partnership Refurbishment Project -

As Trustees of the Morgan Recreation Ground, Crowthorne Parish Councillors have a duty to provide recreational facilities on this site for the children and youth of Crowthorne Parish Council (CPC). CPC also has a duty to provide facilities for all the Parishioners of Crowthorne,
and the fitness equipment and shelter is for the use of all generations.

On 31st March 2009, a Working Group (WG) was formed for the refurbishment of the Morgan Recreation play area in Partnership with Bracknell Forest Council. Funding was provided through a Government Scheme called Playbuilder. This scheme provides play equipment for
children in the 8-13 age group.

To ensure that the Parish Council consulted widely, the Playbuilder Working Group extended an invitation to the Police and a local (Just Around the Corner) youth worker, who had already worked amongst the young people of Crowthorne and had been involved in an earlier
Antisocial Behaviour WG, to join the Playbuilder WG. It was strongly recommend by the co-opted members, that the youths should have facilities of their own e.g. a tuck shop or a toilet. As their recommendation was not included in the Playbuilder remit funding, the
fitness equipment and shelter were agreed to be separately funded by Bracknell Forest S106 funding.

A Public consultation was completed in July 2009, which included local school children of various ages. Residents were also canvassed in Crowthorne High Street, and Consultation forms were handed out to parents and children attending the Summer Play Scheme, which is run by the local police on the Morgan Recreation Ground. During the consultation, the Parish received 240 responses. A large percentage of the children, aged between 8 -13 years, responded to the consultation indicating that they would feel more comfortable and less intimidated by the older children and would prefer to be separated from them, highlighting the need for a separate area for this older group. With guidance from the co-opted members of the WG, the Thames Valley Police Crime Prevention Design Officer and the results of the Consultation, the position of an appropriate location for additional equipment was agreed.

Thames Valley Police Crime Prevention Design Officer (CPDO) attended the WG meeting in October 2009 and advised how well fitness equipment / shelter had worked in other areas. Winnersh and Shinfield have both confirmed that for their sites the project has been a complete success to the point that both Councils plan more equipment in the future. The
young people see shelters as 'somewhere to go'. CPDO also advised that he thought the siting of the shelter would meet the brief of the 'Secured by Design' Award.

Playbuilder and the Fitness zone & Shelter have been well publicised in the local press and the Design Plans were displayed in Crowthorne Library from 17th December 2009 and extended to 4th January 2010 There were also locally distributed publications from April 2009, including, CPC Notice Boards, the Crowthorne Eye Community Magazine. There were
also many local press releases over the past year.

Following CPC's Parish meeting in January 2010, the design for the Playbuilder scheme including the location for the fitness zone and shelter was approved by Full Council.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the consultation process I personally feel that overall Crowthrone itself will benefit from these 'Working Groups'. It is a shame that people feel threaten by some of the local teenagers. These new facilities should help reduce any problems. If any future problems occur that are caused by the youths then if they are carefully dealt with and resolved sensibly as im sure they will be.

Gaming MPs are Human

I was speaking to someone about my conversation with Labour MP Tom Watson about computer games that we play, this was during a recent social media summit see posting below.

They commented that Tom Watson MP was an 'Absolutely worthless waster' (i.e. for playing computer games).

Is this not the kind of reaction that stops MP's being 'normal' and down to earth?

It seams to me that many people expect their MP's to be both human and Unhuman.

People want MP's to understand what it is like to be 'normal' and yet when an MP casually talks about playing computer games to relax after work (something many people do) that makes him a worthless waster?

Surely its because Tom Watson plays computer games that he was able to understand and defend the computer game industry against the attack by Keith Vaz MP. If it wasn't for Tom Watson then perhaps Keith Vaz could of taken the next step introduced a private members bill to ban or censor games (as is the case in Australia) . If Tom Watson was not allowed to be 'normal' then he would not understand computer game culture. Tom is helping to safe guard a very important industry for Britain (Early Day Motion for games tax relief).

Should Tom Watson try and keep his gaming a secret, should MP's keep it a secret when they see films or read books or watch football teams. If you want MP's to be human so they can pass laws that relate to our lives then we have to let them act human and 'normal'.

Robots are no ones friend but thats what we will get if MP's can't do and act the same as the rest of the populaton when they are not working.

see my blog Leave us to Play our Games (MP's debate Modern Warfare Game)‏

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

I attended a Social Media Summit #LewisSMS

MarkReckons has done a review of the event which I also attended see here. This was originally going to be attended by Iain Dale but he had to pull out due to the event being moved to a later time. Iain Dale was replaced by Paul Waugh from the Evening Standard who blogged on the event here. Steve Webb Liberal Democrat MP was also originally due to attend and he also had to pull out which meant that there was no Lib Dem representation at this event.

I don't often attend these events as my blog does not only cover national issues but also local issues however I was interested in seeing for myself what an event like this is like. I had already made my own mind up as to the importance or not of political blogging. I still believe that you need a readership which includes the reporting and political classes to have any influence on any stories one might have as well as a good local base who can spread the word.

The best part of this event for me was being able to meet fellow bloggers and professional commentators such as Paul Waugh. I was also able to speak to Labour MP Tom Watson whose Gamers Voice facebook website I had already joined and a subject I blogged about here . It was quite bizarre to have people waiting for me to finish my conversation with an MP on the console games.

As most people at this event are on twitter I was also able to add some new twitter friends. Many of whom I meet in person first before following them on Twitter.

So despite my initial scepticism on going to this event I feel it was well worth it. I look forward to discussing after the general election what effect blogging, Tweeting and social media like Facebook and Myspace had(if any) on the outcome of the next general election.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

My bad dog experiences and what I would do

The government plans to have all dog owners insure their dogs for third party. The new plans also give powers to the police and council to force dangerous dogs to be muzzled. Dogs will be micro chipped and dog control notices introduced (like a dog ASBO).

Apparently more than 100 people a week go to hospital after a dog attack. I can well believe this as it happened to me.

My bad dog experiences

I was once attacked by two Alsatians dogs off the lead in Weybridge and had to have stitches in hospital. The owners were middle class and not dog fighter breeders. The dogs attacked my leather brief case, I had to throw it to get the dogs off me. The actual dog owners blamed me for waving the brief case. The dogs destroyed my brief case and I was merely looking through the brief case when the dogs attacked. I was shocked when they told me off and they still could not control the dogs trying to hold them back. I moved away as fast as I could without running. My trousers were torn and I noticed I was bleeding. I had been bitten on the side of my leg and on my bottom. Work colleagues took me to hospital where I received stitches for my injuries.

This was weird for me as I am not scared of dogs. My family had an Alsatian at the time and have had several large dogs. My family stopped owning dogs after several problems, One had a mental health problem and had to be put down. Another dog was too aggressive and was given to the police and a third dog was put down after killing some sleep. I also remember when I was a child that our Labrador was kicked and punched by a small child but luckily never reacted.

I also have a friend who is scared to go and visit their friend at a south London estate because of the status dogs there. Her friend is also scared to let her children out on the estate for the same reason. I don't really see how this is fair on people who are scared of dogs. There are a lot of these dogs on this estate and they seem to lead their owners. Perhaps the dog is the pack leader here rather than submissive to the pack leader.

My Ideas

The big worry is that only responsible dog owners will insure their dogs but irresponsible people won't. I agree that this is the worry. I have some ideas on this.

I understand that all dogs can bite but some breeds are more dangerous than others. I think that safer dogs do not need to be covered by micro chipping. There should be a list of possibly dangerous dogs which should be insured and chipped. I would also add that these dogs should have a visible sign that they have been micro chipped so it is easy to report and check, perhaps with a tag. If it is discovered that you have not insured your dog or had it micro chipped then the dog should be held for a week say. If the owner does not get dog insurance then the dog should be destroyed.

Its the dog owners who should pay. If your dog is on the more dangerous dogs list and it attacks someone you should be fined and if you don't pay your fine then you should have a short spell prison. In both cases this should include some education on how to look after a dog and train a dog to behave. The dog should be destroyed if it is not collected and if it is collected then it should be neutered. The dog and dog owner would have to attend compulsory training as part of the fine.

I think all dogs should be on leads when in the streets. And you should have to be 21 to own a dangerous dog.

I know these measure are not nice especially for the dog but these dogs are being used as weapons and its simply not fair on those people that are scared of the dangerous dogs (some people are in total terror of these dogs).

One other thing I would do is to close down dog farms. These are unfair on the dogs where conditions are often kept in bad conditions and the RSPCA is not allowed to inspect without permission. Dog farms are more likely to breed a dog with a behaviour problem.

Let me know your ideas for control of dangerous dogs in the comments

Details of battery dog farms can be seen here on the Guardian

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Monday, 8 March 2010

Local Blog: Parish council meeting disrupted by public unhappy with shelter plans

A recent parish council meeting held on the 2nd March had to be called off after the public 15 minute question time because members of the public who attended the meeting disrupted it.

The members of the public who attended the meeting believed that they had not been consulted. More about the meeting is reported here.

The council received 240 responses, and it was advertised on the Parish Council notice board near the library. 240 is actually a very large response to a consultation.

The council I suspect did not consult the roads around the Morgan recreation ground as this is what the members of the public believed (I have emailed the council to ask who they consulted). If the plans were explained to the public along the roads I expect most people would be happy with the plans (which do appear to be quite good see here ). This could be partly down to the council consulting the wrong individuals. Maybe the council were concerned that the plans would be turned down.

However there are two sides to this story.

Does this action by the public demonstrate that we are now so scared of our youths and teenagers that some people will now react against a new play area. The Morgan recreational ground already has a play area. Some youths do hang at the park benches and around the area. I went there myself last night to speak to some of them and to have a look for myself. They seemed perfectly pleasant. Perhaps if we engaged with youths a little more rather than making them out too all be vandals and criminals we would perhaps have a better society and better behaved youths.

Does this mean that we can no longer provide facilities for the young for fears that it could descend into some crime hot spot. it's these facilities and the work of youth groups that help make our teens better people. Showing them how much they are disliked will only encourage bad behaviour. I myself once hangout at the Morgan Rec . Police even then did used to come down and talk to us. Once we were even chased by the police because we were having races and the police thought we were running away from them and were up to no good.

Before we blame the youths perhaps we should look at our own attitude and step away and think about the impact of our actions.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Is UK media as right wing as US media?‏

I was reading an article on the website (a Independent Investigative Journalism site) titled The NYT Veers Neocon

The article opens with the paragraph 'Many American progressives don’t want to recognize how bad the U.S. mainstream news media has become. It’s easier to praise a few exceptions to the rule and to hope that some pendulum will swing than to undertake the challenging task of building a new and honest media infrastructure.'

News media has always been biased. but there is a difference between commentary which can be biased and reporting facts based news. I wonder if there are parallels that can be drawn between the US news and our own printed press. It feels like the UK media is also becoming more right wing too? Im not complaining, just highlighting this development.

I just think there should be more balance in news reporting. Balance should include views from the Left and views from Liberals. It's always best to remember that not everything you read is true. In some ways the real news is often the items you haven't read in the press.

I expect the growth in mainstream right wing press is a backlash in some ways to Obama being elected or here in the UK Labour being in power. However Labour these days is almost as left as the Conservative party, it's probably more a backlash against the centralisation of government by the labour party. All the various controls, quangos and laws the government have put in place along perhaps with the rules the EU have added to the ever going list of UK laws and powers.

To the question 'Is UK media as Right Wing as US media'? I would say no, but only because the US media continues to move more to the right as does the UK media.

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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Local Blog: Budget and Look In protest ‏

I attended the council meeting yesterday (3rd March 2010) where the budget was approved with a few amendments.

Before going into the meeting I meet the Look In protesters outside, they wrote some very good songs, the lyrics of which I will post on here some other time.

Terry Pearce, chairman of Bracknell Senior Citizen's Forum handed in the petition to keep the Look In Cafe open, he was also allowed to make a 3 minute speech.

I noted the following points from Terry Pearce speech.

1. He compared the 60k to the councillor allowances.

2. He complained that the consultation was hard to access online and that the Senior Citizens Forum was not approached for the consultation.

3. He said that the council by transferring to the volunteer group was washing its hands.

4. He said that the only reason the council was still keeping the Look In cafe was because of the protest and was not down to the council.

Mr Pearce was also asked a few questions. One councillor asked why was he involved? Mr Pearce said because the Look-in is more than just a cafe, its unique and is used for social purposes as family move away and as Chairman of the Senior Citizens Forum he knew how important it is to the senior citizens.

Councillor Dale Birch thanked the people for taking part and said that he valued their input and that it had contributed to the councils thinking. I.e. it was the protest that changed the councils mind.

Councillor Dale Birch was allowed to inform the protestors about the plans for the Look In Cafe.

The Look In Cafe and its assets will be transferred to a new not for profit company which will be run by volunteers. The current manager will remain for up to one year on secondment from the council. There will not be a massive refurbishment and the business rates will remain at zero plus they will be offered a cash loan from the council if required. Councillor Dale Birch said that the council is not washing its hands but ensuring a smooth transition to the new operators.

Later in the meeting Councillor Alan Ward joked that he didn't want the Look In to go as it was only one of two places in Bracknell that had his name on a plaque. He also could not understand why people are still protesting when the Look In had been saved and the council had saved money.

The rest of the meeting.

Awards where made to the hard work put into Foster care placements for the say it loud say it proud scheme.

Also at last the new youth centre was given the go ahead for South Bracknell which is paid for from the sale of housing to the Bracknell Homes. This was announced by councillor Gareth Barnard. Anne Shillcock of the labour group did question why it had taken so long and also the amount of funding spend on consultants. Bernard rebutted this claim by saying that this money was party used to find the suitable property in Great Holland's.

The budget was later passed with amendments for not increasing the council allowances by £100. The budget means an increase in council tax of 2.94%. With 1/2million coming from the reserves.

My thoughts

What surprised me about the meeting was how political it was, I guess in hindsight I shouldn't be. but Labour was attacked at a national level when this is not down to the small Labour group of 3 councillors. I thought it would be best to discuss the issues around the budget.

Labour was attacked for the small increase in the council funding of just over 1% from the government. Labour was also attacked for the large amount of rates that are paid back to the government (I agree with the Tories on this point). Funds are also still tied up in Icelanic banks and interest received is now less not only because of the decrease in the rate but also because of the use of the reserve fund.

One attack on Labour was about the £315,000 charged by the audit commission to the council plus on why so many labour councils receive more funds compared to Tory ones. The defence of course is that many Labour councillors have worse problems and are indeed poorer as they can't raise as much council tax.

All these attacks on Labour seemed quite unfair on a local basis. From what I can tell the small Labour group are working hard and do contribute with ideas to the council even thought they were also attacked on this point. I felt a bit sorry for the Labour councillors.

Councillor Anne Shillcock rebutted these attacks by saying that the same thing will happen under a possible Tory government and stating that the Tories also wanted to make efficiencies at a local level.

Anne Shillcock also felt it was a bad idea to cut the dog warden and park maintenance. But possibly her best point was when she highlighted the cut in the scrutiny panel meetings from 30 to 19. This will also reduce the work load and she felt that this would give the council less chance to question and improve these services that are scrutinised . I also expect this mean less influence and less control. This of course was rebutted by Councillor Paul Bettison as he said they look at problems after the event.

During the meeting even the Liberal Democrat PPC Ray Earwicher who was sitting on the seats around the meeting was also attacked (he can't rebut these as he is not on the council).

All in all I thought it was a real shame that the Labour group was under constant attack rather then allowed to deal with the budget issue themselves. Labour were forced into defending national government or other Labour councils, however they don't have any influence over this and I thought this attack and defence was pointless after all the councillors from all sides know the national issues. I also noticed that it was executive members of the council that spoke and there were not any contributions from the councillors around the table other than the Labour Group during the budget discussion.

After having attended other council meetings in other councils I can see that what we need is more opposition on the council so there is more debate and more ideas from other parties.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Ethiopian aid money spent on weapons

What a shame, although not a surprise to read that millions of pounds raised to help save lives during the Ethiopian famine ended up being spend on weapons to destroy lives. Read the story at the BBC here.

There is always a worry of corruption when payments are made for disasters. This kind of story will put people of giving to international emergencies. However modern relief agencies are very well organised today compared to the 1980's. Therefore it's safer to give to a well known agency because these days criminals even setup fake websites to steal your money.

Worldwide Corruption Preception Index can be viewed here

Charities can be checked at the GuideStar here

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Local Blog: Reply to letters in the press

I wrote a letter to the Bracknell Standard (see Political Letters in the Press‏) which was published on the 18th February 2010. I received many replies to my letter in the paper. So I wrote a reply;

Here it is;

I appear to of hit a nerve with my letter on 18th Feb as there were many responses, all of which made some great points and all agree that we do need effective opposition in Bracknell. I don't believe the opposition parties are not sitting on there Loral's I just think they are finding it hard to increase there votes to get elected.

Some Independents also wrote in, David Vousden suggested that you could stand as a Tory and then become an Independent. I like this idea but unfortunately I think you would be found out and it would be very hard to be selected. It's also very difficult to get elected as an Independent as many people don't change their vote. I think its best to have a party behind you but be independent within that party and only stand in a party that agrees with your principals. Then if you have a fundamental disagreement while your in office you can resign at this point and become an Independent.

I would suggest that the Independents don't stand separately but talk to each other and help each other out perhaps only one of them should stand in a general election if they agree.

I also agree with the letter on civic studies. I think this kind of knowledge would really help because apathy is no ones friend, after all if you don't vote then its partly your own fault when the people you didn't vote for perform legislative action that you disagree with.

Paul Horgan is right that its complacency that has contributed to the expenses scandal that we have suffered from this in Bracknell. Bracknell seat is far to safe and when it feels like a contest which has already been decided before it has even begun. This does make people more apathetic.

Bracknell Blog

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Bracknell Blog gets a mention at the Conservative Spring Conference

Dr Phillip Lee, Conservative PPC for Bracknell has started blogging again after he stopped when he won the primary. He will be blogging he campaign to win in Bracknell during the general election. (Thanks to a tweet from Steve Gabbs at Green Gabbles)

Phillip Lee was asked by Conservative Party Chairman, Eric Pickles, to speak to the Hall about his experience of the selection process in Bracknell.

You can read it hereThe Power of the People.

The bit I like about this speech was the mention of this blog, Phillip Lee said


I still think this statement is still true. We also don't know alot about Phillip Lee which also makes it hard for the opposition to comment on him. Plus of course Bracknell is a very safe conservative seat. I will enjoy reading his blog as it would be interesting to see his thoughts on standing (and maybe winning) in Bracknell.

I am standing in a by election for Old Bracknell

A by-election in the Old Bracknell ward for the Town Council has been called due to the sad death of Lady Barbara Smith.

The candidates standing are;

Roy John Bailey for the Labour Party
Adrian Michael Haffegee for the Green Party
Frances Moody for the Conservative Party
Darren Antony Bridgman for the Liberal Democrats

This means that I am standing in this ward for the Lib Dems. I will be following in the current tradition of Lib Dem Bloggers standing in local elections like the Norfolk Blogger and Mark Reckons.

Wish me luck as I am really up against it to win this election. the results in 2007 were;

Michael Beadsley Labour 698 20% Elected
Maureen Beadsley Labour 696 20% Elected
Barbara Smith Conservative 635 18% Elected
Enid Rose Leake Conservative 616 17% Not elected
Margaret Loneragan Labour 553 16% Not elected
Lesley Marion Tooze Liberal Democrat 325 9% Not elected

I will be publishing the details I have written for the leaflet which explains why I am standing.

The by-election will take place on the 25th of March. More details to follow.

I'm now of for a run around the ward, its not quite a Rory Stewart epic walk but its a start.

PS my apologies to Adrian M Haffegee whose name I misspelt in my haste to get this blog up and my thanks to Adrian for contacting me.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ashcroft - are we all as bad as each other?

Twitter has gone crazy today with all the various attacks and defence over the Lord Ashcoft Non Dom status Story. Just have a look at the Eric Pickles Tweets on Twitter today.

All these accusations flying around Twitter just say one thing too me. Are not all the parties, like the expenses story, simplying not clean on party donations.

The Liberal Democrats being cleared by the Electoral Commission after donations made by Michael Brown now a convict fraudster.

Labour Parties various donations from a number of non-doms (outlined on Iain Dales Blog).

The illegal gifts by retired bookmaker Alan Bown to UKIP

Is this not simular to the expenses scandal in that all parties have not come out well and this will again put more people of voting in the general election.

Party funding is the real problem here. It, like the expenses, needs to be cleaned up.

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Local Blog: Bracknell College Open Day

Being a blog that gets involved in campaigns it can all seem a bit negative sometimes. I wish there was more I could be positive about like my blogs on the Parks in Bracknell and Point Royal.

But one very positive part of Bracknell is the new £37million pound college paid for by the Learning and Skills Council. I recently attending an open day event there where I was able to walk around the facilities and talk to staff and the Howard O'Keeffe the Principal and Chief Executive of the College.

I studied a National Diploma in Computer Science after retaking my GCSE's (I was a bad boy at school plus im dyslexic which held me back) they were good enough to let me carry on my education at the college. What I remember was not only the helpful teachers but also very poor and tired building, even then. It was cold and draughty and some of the facilities were not the best. The old building environment did not help you get on with your studies.

The £37million rebuild of Bracknell and Wokingham College has escaped Government cuts and as now been completed. It was an impressive build, Being built at the same site as the old college while keeping the old college open. Similar projects around the country have been put on hold after cash was withheld due to the recession.

The building has first class facilities which I saw for myself. This allows it to offer a massive range of courses both full and part time and includes apprenticeships using fully equipped training walls for electrician and plumper, Hair salons, engineering and car maintenance and of course computer rooms and science facilities. The other impressive part is the multipurpose hall for sport and full stage facilities.

The college is also very Green as it does not require any air conditioning but is heated and cooled by water pumped up from underground. It also uses Automatic lighting that switches on if someone's in the room, only if there isn't enough natural light. Recycling using separation bins. The old building will be crushed and reused as building material for the new car park and its landscaping.

When I spoke to the College principal Howard O’Keeffe he told me that the building will help bring results for the college which has a great record of passes in all course areas. He also said that he is hoping to get a grading of outstanding instead of good in the next ofsted inspection.

I really like this building and this college is very good for Bracknell as it gives a reason for people to visit and offers us all many more services to improve ourselves and keep Bracknell on the map.

The Bracknell and Wokingham Colege website is