Thursday, 29 April 2010

Bristol East are opening postal votes in the name of sampling and results are reported

Kerry McMcarthy recent MP and current Labour PPC for Bristol East just tweeted this;

@Kerry4MP First PVs opened in east Bristol, our sample: UKIP **; TUSC** ; BNP ** Lib Dem **; Tory **; Labour **. #gameON!

PV meaning postal votes. Surely this is not right?  I have hidden the actual number because it is illegal to report a sample of postal votes as it is in effect an exit poll and this could influence voting on the day. The tweet itself has now been deleted.

I tweeted back @Kerry4MP really then sampling should not be allowed esp if its public knowllege.

Then @markpack replied @Kerry4MP @mikeytweeting That's still illegal though - whether the figures you publish are from sampling or official totals.

lordbonkers tweeted this @kerry4mp suggest you read this  

Which includes this from Schedule 6, Section 66A of the 2000 amendments to the Representation of the People Act 1983, to whit:
“66A. - (1) No person shall, in the case of an election to which this section applies, publish before the poll is closed-
(a) any statement relating to the way in which voters have voted at the election where that statement is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information given by voters after they have voted, or
(b) any forecast as to the result of the election which is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information so given.
(2) This section applies to-
(a) any parliamentary election; and
(b) any local government election in England or Wales.
(3) If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

Kerry defended this by tweeting Kerry4MP defended this by tweeting '@dazmando @markpack On reflection, I've deleted. It's not counting, just random exercise'

Parlez_me_nTory Tweeted to Kerry 'AHEM! RT @ianvisits: this: RT @Kerry4MP 1st PVs opened in east Bristol, our sample: Lib Dem **; Tory **; Labour ** '

Kerry4MP then turned the tables back on @Parlez_me_nTory  by tweeting @Parlez_me_nTory @ianvisits I think you two perhaps shouldn't compound the error? My mistake - hands up! But you can't do it either'.

Perhaps getting them in trouble too. Oh dear! 

I think this could be the worst tweet Kerry McCarthy has done in her career it is after all against the law. We wait and see where this leads. I'm also a little shocked that an MP didn't know or think about the rules governing disclosure of votes before the closing of the polls on Thursday next week.

UPDATE: Parlez_me_nTory @dazmando on my mobile cannot comment on your post, please ADD that i stand by my tweet in the interest of informing her of ...her error, thank you :)

UPDATE 2: as expected this story is now all over twitter using the #Kerryout hashtaq. Alex Foster of Lib Dem Voice has posted this Note to agents: do not publish anything you learn at postal vote opening where I also used the picture of the UKlabourparty tweet below;

Also Guido Fawkes has been intouch with the Electoral Services in Bristol East to complain about Kerry McMcarthy Tweet and Mark Pack covers the law here
Update 3: There is now a campaign as a result of this tweet to Stop the Bristol East seat being declared for Kerry McCarthy There is also a petition which can be signed here to seebag

Update 4: Kerry McCarthy has tried to apologises in a In a statement released by Labour to the Returning Officer at Bristol City Council. Captainranty has the details here.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Institute for Fiscal Studies has condemned all 3 main parties‏

Institute for Fiscal Studies has condemned all 3 main parties for their failure to tell voters the truth about spending plans (details here). I think their right.

Problem for political parties is that if a party actually came out and did what the public want and told them that they are going to make massive cuts at some point and raise taxes then that party would loose the election hands down. Its one of those hard facts of politics that people really don't like this kind of negative news even thought they understand that this need to happen. What a shame we have to fight elections like this.

The IFS is independent of political influence and the mean headline of there report rated unspecified cuts in spending amount to £52.5bn for the Conservatives, £44.1bn for Labour and £34.4bn for the Liberal Democrats. Given the history of the Tory governments record on paying back deficits im surprised they came out the worst.

No party comes out well and it would be interesting to see how this question is answered in the final leaders debate.

Todays link is to This is Money Blog which covers all aspects of finance.

Independent PPC Robin Smith for Wokingham Q&A‏

I recently meet Robin Smith who is one of the Independent Candidates for Wokingham. He applied to stand in the Conservative Bracknell open primary. I asked him some questions and here are his answers.

1. You are a Conservative councillor. Are you now an independant councillor?

I am. You can find my rationale here

2. Are you standing against John Redwood specifically or are you standing for other reasons?

Both reasons. Mr Redwood is calling for more of the same that has got the world to where it is today. But then again so are all 3 parties. THAT is why I'm saying it is a wasted vote voting for them. And a useful vote voting for me. See the link above for more in detail.

3. John Redwood has stated on his leaflets that you cant have a Conservative Government without a Conservative in Wokingham. Does this stop Conservative leaning voters from voting for you?

Why not ? He is treating his core voters as idiots by saying this. And they are indeed dumb if they buy this lie which a child could see was untrue. But I expect they will, so yes in answer I will lose votes on the basis that people have chosen not to think. I would ask Conservative voters why they are so partisan when their children will never be able to afford a home if they elect him. For me, I'm not about power. I want to see a Free State. We will not get it if we continue to vote for the main 3.

4. Did you consider or did you apply to the Conservative Party Open Primary selection in Bracknell?

I did indeed. But first I had to get approved by party HQ. It was the best job application I had ever made, I called in a lot of friends to help me and spent a lot of time on it. And the Conservative Party HQ treated me with utter disrespect in response. Just as they did with Mark Ashwell. This is one of the more minor reasons I decided on the independent pathway. I did want to go for Bracknell.

5. Given that John Redwood holds a number of directorships do you think MP's should hold these positions and would you?

This question came up in the hustings too. My response was, how can any human being work 80 hours a week in parliament, hold down two jobs and still have time to think. It is not possible, while still functioning as a servant of the people. And evidently this can be seen to be true, with his failures and also for all MP's. Government has failed consistently. They are all "Too busy to think". No I would not do that. I would only hold only to my Systemic Fiscal Reform Group think tank activities which help form my manifesto.

6. What would be your mainpoliciesto halt any future expenses or allowances abuses ?

Elect leaders of integrity, not managers who are experts at helping the voter reconcile deeper prejudices. This is something in our power to do. We just need to cross the right box.

7. What other 3 main policies would you like to see introduced on behalf of the constituents?

Would you mind following this link
* Abolish taxation
* Reform Banking and the issuance of money
* Cut financial services NOT health, social services and education

8. How can you make a difference in Parliament as an independent and a difference in Wokingham?

call to restore planning decisions to those who create the value in the local community, the people ,
call to restore trading decisions to the independent traders and entrepreneurs ,
This is an activity I am currently frequently engaged in anyway . 

9. Do you have a big idea?

Yes. This is a soap box topic for me. I call it the Free State, where both the people trading freely and the government protecting that natural right can finally work in harmony. See here for full detail.

10.During your campaign so far have you had any interesting incidents or events?

Yes. When I resigned from the party I was expecting to get a hammering. But I received more grace from the members than I have ever done since joining. That gave me great hope. Something lies deeper in all of us that is naturally good. Also that people tend, though not naturally, to seek what is in it for themselves when you talk to them, prior to what is in it for the whole. This is central to he failure of politics here in the UK. It is a result of deliberately scaring people with false ideas about wealth and security. Look in the paper, you can see it everywhere. I tend not to read papers now and would suggest others ignore them too.

11.How are you funding your campaign as a Independent?

During the dotcom bubble I made a million. At the time I thought that was because I was a smart fella. Look at me! Somewhere along the path to today I discovered that it was stolen money. I had not earned it all by any means. I have some of that surplus remaining. For the past 5 years I have spent it on 2 things. Bringing a message of economic justice to the people. And riding bikes competitively.

12.What is your strap line to persuade the people of Wokingham to vote for you?

I'll leave you with what I say when people ask why I am doing this. It applies to all people, rich or poor, black or white, happy or unhappy. There is great hope if we only choose to pause... and examine the simple facts carefully.

The people are being fleeced, plain and simple. By persistently unjust social institutions and failed government. The main Three are proposing more of the same if we elect ANY of them. Voting for them once again is therefore a wasted vote. By standing I want to send this simple message as clearly as possible to the electorate. I propose real reform to change this. My hope is that a big shock to the mainstream will wake them up and they will adopt this systemic change. My task will then be done. We have a vote May 6th. We have the clear choice to sweep them away. Don't waste that chance.

My thanks to Robin Smith for being kind enough to answer my questions. Mark Ashwells Q&A can be read here

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Tony Blair came close to being indicted for war crimes‏ in Malaysia

This story was found at Global Research using the URL of this article:

It turns out that Tony Blair came close to being indicted for war crimes.

Taken from the above article it states;

While on a speaking engagement in Malaysia organized by "Success Resources Company", former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the object of an articulate protest movement demanding his indictment for war crimes.

This was no ordinary protest. Tony Blair has been accused of war crimes in a legal initiative led by the country's former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

A War Crimes Tribunal as well as a War Crimes Commission were setup integrated by renowned jurists. Documentary evidence of war crimes committed by Blair and Bush has been carefully compiled and collected since 2006. The prosecution is led by several of Malaysia's most prominent lawyers.

The article goes on to describe who Mr. Matthias Chang and Mr. Zainur Zakaria tried and were prevented from serving the indictment. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission have now indicated that this is the beginning of a global campaign to ostracise people who they believe are war criminals and urge people around the world over to adopt similar campaigns against Bush and Blair.

I'm always amazed at what the press and news channels decide to use as news and what they simply ignore. Here's a great example.

A friend of mine pointed this story out. They did a search for this story using a number of search engines . BBC d id not seem to have the Story at all(BBC's most recent Malaysian news story of any kind was from February ) . They also tried Google search for Tony+Blair+Malaysia, and on the first two pages of results (filtered for UK Sites only) only of what we might think of as mainstream media outlets mentioned it. Strange.....

Todays link is to the very enjoyable Guy Fawkes blog at One of the most popular blogs on the internet. Its like a private eye take on politics.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Local Blog Newsweek: 4 Bracknell area politics

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

Dan's up for an election scrap - Goodbye Andrew Mackay campaigner is standing in Bracknell under Scrap Members' Allowances party

Boundary changes bring Newbury MP into Wokingham

Over 50s take a front row seat in the battle for Bracknell

Election 2010 - Bracknell's candidates

And a video taken by the Bracknell Standard at the Look In Cafe

If you know of any other local political stories then please add them in the comments below.

Todays link is to Green Gabbles has a very cool picture of Get Clegg in response the attacks on Clegg in the printed press. 

Is there not already an amnesty rule?

There has been many stories about the the Liberal Democrat Policy on Immigration which I blogged 'Immigration - What to say on the doorstep'. I Think I should point out the current so called 14 years residence rule.

As far as I can find out, no main party has a plan to remove this rule. This is why Nick Clegg has been saying that the other parties are not being honest with the public.

The current 14 years residence rule works like this.

If you have remained in the United Kingdom lawfully for 10 years, or have been here for 14 years unlawfully without a deportation order issued then during that time, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain or in other words periment residence.

The requirements are that evidence that you have lived in the UK for 10 or 14 years. If someone has lived in the UK lawfully for 10 years then you simply need to provide evidence that you have been granted permission to stay.

It someone has been in the UK for 14 years unlawfully then that person needs to provide evidence that they have lived here for the 14 years. You would need documents from some official sources such as your bank, school, doctor’s surgery, copy medical records etc.

Some things are taken into account these are; age, connections in the UK, personal history like character and employment record, domestic circumstances, criminal record, compassionate circumstances, and representations made on that persons behalf.

The application is normally made from within the United Kingdom. There is a fee for the application. The application is made on an application form and the person will need to prove that they have satisfied the above requirements through documentary evidence.

In some ways the Liberal Democrats plans are more strict for example you need to be able to use English which is not a current requirement.

I was going to link to the Home Office Website but the details appear to of just been removed.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cancelled my Sky Subscription‏

I have just cancelled my Sky subscription after watching the debate on Sky News. This is because I was horrified to see Adam Boulton point out the Telesgraphs Nick Clegg donation story during the debate. This is surely in breach of the rules of the debate as Adam Bolton should be impartial and its for the party leaders to bring this subject up during the debate. I also complain to ofcom about this which can be done here.

These attempts at smears on the Liberal Democrats or indeed smears on any political party are totally discussing. How is that type of reporting (if I can call it that) of incorrect infomation or half truths good for democracy. There are now a number of stories showing the growing right-wing press campaign in a bad light. Nick Robinson has details of Tory-backing papers being called in one by one to discuss how Team Cameron would deal with "Cleggmania".

A story in the Independent on 'The Sun' censoring a poll that showed support for Lib Dems' plus details of the truth and lies told in the recent articles.

I believe, unlike others, that this will lose the Liberal Democrats some points in the polls. There might be a backlash but this is smaller than the paper reports themselves and these stories stick in the mind. The papers are losing their power and influence but they do still have influence

Of course its not just the right-wing press. Perhaps one of the craziest stories other than the Daily Mails Nazi slur is this TV presenter Louis Theroux claimed he was the Lib Dem leader's "fag" at boarding school. What a load of rubbish.

Needless to say I won't be giving Rupert Murdoch any more of my money.

Todays link is to the Daily Mail-o-matic where you can get 'A new Daily Mail headline every time you click the button. For a limited time only, every headline is about Nick Clegg'. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Local Blog: Facebook groups in Bracknells election

A Bracknell Facebook group has been setup for the Bracknell Liberal Democrats by a Richard Doyle. There is already a national Facebook group for the Liberal Democrats (with over 127,000 members) which like this Bracknell group it was not setup by Liberal Democrat members but by a interested members of the public.

Phillip Lee the Conservative candidate also has a Facebook group here and Good bye Andrew Mackay here.

What would Murdock do if the Liberal Democrats won the election

There is an interesting article on the guardian comment is free by David Yelland who once edited the Sun so knows what hes talking about. Its about how if the Liberal Democrats could win then the cosy arrangement of the press and our media would be shattered. Link here.

As my readers know im no fan of partisan newspapers with agendas. I want true democracy with fair reporting. I prefer newspapers to only put their slants on the news in the comments columns not in their main articles.

Todays link is to the Guardian Politics page.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Goodbye Andrew Mackay campaigner to stand in Bracknell

Dan Haycocks of Goodbye Andrew Mackay is to stand fo MP in Bracknell. Running under the 'Scrap Members Allowances' part. He is standing with Liam COSTELLO in Northampton Who is running under the same name.

This news I'm sure will make the Bracknell election very interesting.

Dan in his usual style has made a video of Phillip Lees town centre stall see below.

Interview with Mark Ashwell Independent candidate for Wokingham

I recently meet Mark Ashwell who is an Independent Candidate for Wokingham. He also applied to stand in the Conservative Bracknell open primary. I asked him some questions and here are his answers.

1. You applied to be the Bracknell PPC for the Conservative Party but was not selected for the Open Primary, Why do you think you was not selected?

I was not even offered the stage before - a self financed parliamentary assessment board. My very sound application did not get out of the intray and 5 months later(2 months after the Primary). I received a rejection letter.

2. Given that you applied to be a PPC in Bracknell, Why are you now standing in Wokingham?

After reacting to David Cameron's call to party political novices to join him and then being rejected without consideration I talked to a lot of Conservative Party members. I rapidly realised that a local community person in Bracknell or Wokingham has no chance of being considered as MP for the Conservative Party. I decided to challenge Party Politics in my home town Conservative stronghold Wokingham against an MP that's picking up his safeseat again after 23 years.

3. What would be your main 3 policies that you would like to see introduced into parliament?

As an Independent policy introduction is not realistic my three targets:

a. To set up effective two way dialogue with my constituents on local and national issues,

b. Connect with the young voter by inspiring them to contribute and take part in their futures,

c. Challenge the traditional party system to encourage positive change.

4. How can you make a difference in Parliament as an independent and a difference in Wokingham?

In parliament an Independent can ask the awkward questions the political parties want to avoid. In Wokingham an Independent can be a critical friend to our Conservative council I can bring business, government and community together to work as one.

5. Do you have a big idea?

To have an achieving Wokingham constituency forum of Business, Community and Government.

6.John Redwood has stated on his leaflets that you can't have a Conservative Government without a Conservative in Wokingham. Does this stop Conservative leaning voters from voting for you?

Conservative voters want to change their MP as much as other voters in Wokingham. If Wokingham seat makes the difference the nation will look to the independent thinking in Wokingham.

7.During your campaign so far have you had any interesting incidents or events?

One was John Redwood approaching me and my Adbike outside Tesco. He said the bike was illegal! Apparently the poster did not have the small print to say who it was printed by - this was from the arch anti regulations MP!! Great leveller General Elections.

8.How are you funding your campaign as a Independent?

I am - no donation excepted I am in this financially alone but with a great team of volunteers.

9.What is your strap line to persuade the people of Wokingham to vote for you?

YOUR VOTE will Make History Cheers Mark.

My Thanks to Mark Ashwell for being kind enough to answer my questions.

Todays link is to SNP Tactical Voting

Monday, 19 April 2010

Local Blog Newsweek: 3 Bracknell area politics

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

Analysis of TV debate by Bracknell branding expert

South East Housing Plan would be scrapped if the Conservatives formed a government

‘I dobbed in Prescott wife but the police didn’t care’ - Goodbye MacKay Campaign report to the police the taking of a cup and saucer from Admiralty House in London.

Breach of code complaint on councillor rejected 

Council bosses’ wage rises rapped in survey

Anger at response to hospital petition

If you know of any other local political stories then please add them in the comments below.

And my favorite international link of the week is 'Peering into North Korea', A collection of Pictures from North Korea

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Historic polls show Conservatives must win for it's futures sake

Those that know me know that I'm not a believer in polls as they have proven to be wrong many times in the past and when an election is this close with more votes expected for smaller parties and independents and all kinds of local factors its very hard to predict the final outcome. However I believe trends are worth examining.

I have been examining the ages of voters for the historic polls see below

There are some interesting points to note.

1. The vote stays very consistent for over 55's however the is variation in the other ages.

2.The vote for Labour and the conservatives drops when the opposition is in power.

3.Notice what has happens in the 2010 April poll. The other age groups have a Tory lead but the under 24s vote has actually decreased for the conservative and increased for Labour. This is a worry if this continues for the future of the Conservative party.

4. This ages bracket won't make a massive difference in this election because 18 to 25 is about 10% of the voters where as 50% of the voters are over 45. However this is still the future more likely voting pattern as most people do not change their vote.

Have new voters simply got used to a Labour government or are they more idealistic when they are young. In the other elections the 18 to 24 vote has been inline with the other age groups although this started to change in 1987. Some people have changed their vote as they move into the older group. However its this decrease in an election where the conservative are expected too get the most seats that is most striking.

Perhaps the Conservatives need to win this election if only to get the 18 to 24 age group used to a Tory government again.

This work was done before the leaders debate and I have not updated this because we do not know if this is temporary surge at the time of writing. I will update after the next leaders debate. I have heard on the news that the biggest increase in Liberal Democrat Support has been amongst people under 35. If this is true then they are less likely to get their news from the press and therefore less likely to be presudaed by the press to change their vote. Again if this is the case then Labour and the Conservatives need a different strategy to win those voters back.

These polls are based on the average for the year using the Ipsos Mori polldata taken from reseach by EarlhamSociology. The 2010 poll is taken from April 10th Polling data.

Todays link has to be to the UK polling Report Blog which contains all the polling data you could want and analysis.

Please click on the charts below to examine each age group in detail.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Immigration - What to say on the doorstep

There is no doubt the the Liberal Democrats are about to have a whole world of hurt directed at them. I'm sure it's about to get really nasty for the Liberal Democrats.

One issue that the parties will attack the Lib Dems over is that hot potato Immigration. What the papers are calling an amnesty for illegal migrants.

However Lib Dem policy on immigration is not an amnesty or all illegal immigrants as is being quoted in the news today. It's is not relax as it says in the Daily Mail today but it is sensible and brave.

The policy is;

1.reintroduce exit checks immediately. National Border Force with police powers

3.A regional points-based system to ensure migrants go where they are needed.

4.Allow asylum seekers to work.

5.Give responsibility to an independent agency.

6.burden proportionally between EU member states.

7.Focus deportation efforts on criminals – letting law-abiding families earn citizenship.

The 7th one is the most controversial point. the full policy explaination is;

'It would take years and cost us £8bn to deport all those who are living in Britain illegally. Some of them are criminals and people-traffickers. Others are families who have been here for years, and just want to work and pay their taxes. Immigration officers are focusing on families because they’re easy targets, letting criminals off the hook. We would allow people who have been in Britain for 10 years, speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term to earn citizenship. That way, immigration officers can spend all their time deporting dangerous people and checking up on employers to stop illegal working.'

The fact is that these people have already put down roots and will be here for 10 years more. We can't find illegal immigrants because they are hiding or are being forced to work for criminals. So in the mean time they are not paying taxes and are hiding away from society. It cost £11,000 to deport one person on average and that person may come back. We can't afford it even if we did find them. They are not being given a amnesty but a chance to earn citizenship. This is not offered to everyone but only to families because of issues like child slave labour.

No government will beable to find all the illegal immigrants or indeed stop illegal immigrants from coming as long as our borders are not tight enough. He have to start with a clean slate. If say UKIP froze migration they would find a massive increase in illegal migration as demand for cheap labour escalated. There would also be a hugh increase in false asylum claims that a UKIP government would still have deal with.

Migration is not that easy to fix or reduce so seting out markers and geting some long term illegal immigrants to pay tax makes sence.

I mention UKIP because a guy came up to me in Bracknell town while campaigning last saturday.

He said "let me tell you the problem with this country"

I said "Immigration".

He said "Yeah yeah immigration" He pulled out his Daily Mail and showed my an article in it.

I said "look we have policies on immigration"

He said "I don't care your all the same"

I said well "If you don't look you wont know"

He said "I'm voting UKIP so you can just F'off! He walked away at this point.

I said "your a good advert for UKIP!"

Anyway I do understand how angry people get on this subject people tell me all the time and my girl friend works for immigration in the Home Office so I know a fair amount about the issues of trying to send people back (this can't be done to some countries as they will not accept them and not allow your plane to land).

On the Doorstep I would say 'We are not asking for everyone to be part of an amnesty just those that have been year for 10 years and are unlikely to leave. We won't know who these people are unless we offer them the right to gain citizenship otherwise they will continue to work for criminal gangs and we will continue to have this hidden underclass in our society. Is it not a good idea to cut the slave labour offered to the criminal gangs but cutting of their supply of labour? To solve the problems of immigration we have to be radical and brave and should not hide away from it because of popularist politics that won't solve our problems.

Liberal Democrats full policy on immigration can be found here

I agree with Nick T-Shirts

Just a bit of fun.

T-shirts to celebrate the poll rating of CON 33%(-4), LAB 28%(-3), LDEM 30%(+8) on the latest YouGovpoll.

The most used phase doing the 1st leaders debate was 'I agree with Nick' mainly by Gordon Brown and now you can get the T-shirt here

Friday, 16 April 2010

Leaders Debate - Lets wait and see‏

The leaders debate has given the Liberal Democrats perhaps their best ever coverage in the press it has ever had.

I'm not going to bang on about who won here as the more important poll is the effect this has had on the marginals. I thought that Cameron was good against Brown but not so good against Clegg. I also thought Brown did not gain any voters due to the debate and im certain Cameron did not gain many voters for the Tories. After the good performance of Nick Clegg (which may help to answer the question 'who is Nick Clegg?') Liberal Democrats would be happy to gain a few percent and some more supporters. As an activist I can add that it has inspired me to work harder as I think it must of done others activists. I still believe the most important debate will be the last one on the BBC. This is because Sky will not have as many people tuning in and the BBC is the nearest to the election.

The Fabian Society blog has done an excellent analysis of the impact of the ITV debate called 'Will the Clegg factor make fear of a hung Parliament more difficult?'

I think it would be best if the Liberal Democrats don't over play the who won the debate point (even if its hard to resist) and just let the public decide. I also think Nick Clegg should get some trouser that fit him as that was the only complaint about Clegg I heard down the pub.

So in summary even though I really enjoyed this debate I think its best to wait and see what the effect is on the polls and not over react on the instant polls.I'm also expecting many more attacks on the Liberal Democrats. So lets let the debate sink into the minds of the voters first.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Are you an Independents? If so I want to know

Please can any Independents standing in Bracknell or Wokingham get in touch with this blog. Email Dazmando at

Manifestos out but do the puplic know the parties policies

So all the Manifestos have now been released. Manifestos are naturally used as a PR stunt. but of course the pledges are important.

I found the Labour manifesto and Conservative manifesto a bit to wordy with large layout. The Lib Dem manifesto I thought was laid out better using short boxes for each point.

As far as the launches went I though David Cameron speech was perhaps the best one. As his big society (big idea) is in principal something I think many people would agree with. I don't agree with some of the methods in getting there however. For example im concerned that pushy parents may setup schools which could undermine the professional judgement of teachers with there demands. Im also unsure about the amount of power being taken away from local council over the referendum idea. I think councils need more power and more of their money back as proposed by the Liberal Democrats. Councils have already lost too much power under the current centralising government. Also why do LAbour and the Tories not put more figures into there manifesto.

I thought the Labour conference launch was the least interesting of the 3 main parties, there clearly running out of ideas, they had some but not as many as the other two main parties. I also thought Nick Clegg did well during his speech during the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch. I think he is improving quickly and growing in confidence after his bad performance on the Politics Show. All these interviews I think has improved Nick Cleggs answers.

The worrying thing is that despite the constant news coverage of the party policies alot of people still don't know what the policies of the parties are. Today John Pienaar asked some members of the public which policy was related to which party.

John Pienaar asked who was proposing to not increase NI, Most people said it was Labour and one said it was the Lib Dems when it is infact the Tories. The question was asked which party is raising the income tax allowance to £10k, most thought this was Labour only one thought it was the Lib Dems and he heard that today. When asked which party is going to make English requirement a higher standard for immigrants most thought this was a Conservative policy, It is a Labour policy. So still many members of the public do not know which party is proposing what. This perhaps is the biggest problem for all the parties and indeed the public if they vote for parties for the wrong reasons.

My Manifesto award however has to go to UKIP for their T shirts given away free stating 'Withdraw now before its too late' and for the manifesto being titled 'Sod the lot'.

Anyway If you are fed up of all this manifesto business then perhaps you can get some light relief at where you can vote with the back of your hand.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Taxpayers Fund MP's facing criminal charges

I was just driving home when I heard on the radio that the three Labour MPs facing criminal charge (Devine, Chaytor and Morley) are to get legal aid to defend their case.

Conservative leader David Cameron said "Granting legal aid to the MPs was a complete outrage". Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said "People will be dismayed that former MP s are going to get legal aid in their expenses cases". I could not agree more. Using tax payers money for people who are wealthy and given the outrage in the public on the expenses scandle could not be timed worse for Labour.

Apparently this can only be done at some courts like Southwark Crown Court because means testing is being phased in for all the Crown Court's in England and Wales. So People can pick and choose which court to use based on which one offer legal aid, how is this right? Why not introduce this too all courts and not phase it in. The "interests of justice" test began to be phased out in January and replaced by a means test for all Crown Court cases in England and Wales but Southwark Crown Court is not yet part of the new scheme. So it did not apply to the MPs simply because the case is at Southwark Crown Court.

If conviced (this could mean a 7 year prison sentence) the judge can ask for these fee to be paid back. However this does not happen often from what I understand. I hope if conviced the judge will ensure this is paid back to the public purse.

Local Blog: Bracknell PPC's on BBC Radio Berkshire

Bracknells PPC's from 4 of the parties Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP can be heard on On BBC Berkshires Andrew Peach show. Link below

From 2 hours and 1 minute into the program so please fast forward to this point and check it out.

Phillip Lee was also on BBC’s ‘The Politics South Show’ This can be watched here about 50 minutes in

Sunday, 11 April 2010

News of the World wrong on PS3 in prisons and Sun Cable quotes misleading

My readers will know that I don't believe what I read in the press. I find some papers are too biased and full of half truths. Heres two examples

Todays News of the World 2nd page has a Story headline 'Luxury Lags get PS3 Perk' on page two

Now have a look at the photo. Thats not a PS3 controller the so called jailbird has. Its a PS1 controller. These are worth almost nothing now (selling for 99pence on ebay). If you are going to claim that half are allowed Playstations PS3 at least show the prisoner with the right controller when mentioning the PS3 several times in the article. Prisoners are not being given PS3 at tax payers expense. They maybe given a console by friends or family or perhaps donated one. But they are not siting there playing PS3 all day.

The other Story was in the Sun on bank holiday Monday called 'Unstable Cable' Catchy it maybe but the example in the headline is taken out of context.

Where in October 2008 Vince Cable said 'It is entirely wrong for the government to stimulate the economy by yet more public spending' he was referring to the spending by the government should be on capital projects not on normal public expenditure. Where Vince Cable said in February 2009 'We believe the government stimulus is right and necessary' Vince Cable was talking about the quantitative easing program not public spending, too totally unrelated types of stimulus'. Yes Cable is not perfect but if you are going to attack him atleast use the right quotes otherwise you may as well make the story up.

Vince Cable did not disagree with quantitative easing he simply warned about not over doing it he said 'Monetary easing may prove to be necessary but will have to be managed with great skill and care'. The situation in the economy was developing and Vince Cable did change some of his views based on the changing economic situation. I don't really see what wrong with that, surely its because politicians are not allowed to be fexlible that their hands become tied for fear of being seen to 'Unstable' and therefore can't respond as required by the situation.

Todays link is to The Norfolk Blogger who has done this little video on the 'Contradiction of the Tory Marriage Tax proposal'

Don't be told how to vote

Ever since I became involved in politics I have always been surprised at the number of people that say "I'm voting for so and so because my partner told me thats who we are voting for".

Someone I know was marched down to the polling station by their mum telling them to vote Labour. The first time they didn't was during the London Mayor elections. Recently her mum said to her are "you voting Labour". "No" was the reply "there are two other parties and many other smaller parties too, I'm not voting Labour ever again!". Her mum replied "but you have to vote Labour we always do" (good reason). This discussion was ended with the comment "Mum, do you know why you vote Labour?'"to which her mum could not answer.

Same thing happened the other day when a lady who is voting for the first time asked me what all the parties stand for. Which I explain the history of the parties, their principals and I also explained Socialism and small government etc. She said her parents vote Labour so she was going to but she decided to find out about the other parties. Good for her, she is going to check out the web sites and read the leaflets. I said to her that its best to ignore the attacks by the parties on each other and read about what they are going to do.

So please people don't just vote the same way because you always have done. Read the leaflets, watch some news, see one of the TV debates and examine the websites when the manifestos are out (From Monday). You may find that you like or agree with one of the other parties or worse strongly disagree with the party you was going to vote for.

Todays link is to the Independant article which examines
Young voters: What do Britain's 18 year-olds really think of our politicians?

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Local Blog Newsweek: 2 Bracknell area politics

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

Wokingham candidate wants election lie detector tests

Heatherwood Hospital is given one month to improve by the Care Quality Commission

BENEFIT cheats have been ordered to repay more than £150,000 of over-payments made during the last year.

An extra week has been added to a public consultation on the possibility of more than 3,000 homes in Binfield and Warfield

Andrew MacKay to leave with £1.8m handshake

Bracknell Forest Council has received £106,610 under the Government’s Local Authority Business Growth Incentives (LABGI) scheme

If you know of any other local political stories then please add them in the comments below.

And my favorite international story of the week as todays link is
Greek sues over photo on 'Turkish' yoghurt in Sweden

Local Blog: Question Time and Husting events Bracknell

More details are emerging about Question Time events in Bracknell.

On Monday 12th April from 9 to 10 am  Radio Berkshire show with Andrew Peach which can be listen to on 104.1FM, 104.4FM, 95.4FM, 94.6FM. DAB and on the radio see listen live and listen again links on the top right of this page here.

The 3 main parties will be represented at Easthampstead Baptist Church from 7.45pm on Tuesday 27th April. I am waiting for details on who can attend this event.

There are also possible Question Time events being organised for the Look In which would be during the day rather than the evening and The Kerith Centre which would be open too all members of the public and be an evening event. When I get the details and if they happen I will publish them on the blog.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Don't fear a hung parliament

I was talking to a German today about coalition government and Consensus (Electoral fusion). He votes liberal in Germany.

In Germany its now the Christian Democratic Union and sister party Christian Social Union (Conservative Parties) are in power with the Free Democratic Party (the Liberal party of Germany).

I asked him how he felt about voting for a party he knew could not win but would try to be part of a coalition. He said he's not a natural liberal but feels that what they offer is more balance and sense to the main party policies in a coalition, this made it worth while voting for them.

One problem we have in Britain is not only that we are not used to coalitions but that we call it a 'hung parliament'. This use of language makes it sound like a negative thing. It's not negative, it is a chance to get agreement rather than adversarial politics. It is also a chance for Britain to have a more representative parliament which offers sensible cooperation between parties.

Much is made about the reaction of the stock markets to a hung parliament. I believe the stock markets would soon get used to a coalition when they see it working. Markets are used to coalition governments (such as Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand, India, Switzerland plus many others, these countries have a coalition in some shape or form).

People argue that these governments are less stable. Coalitions can collapse of course. However if this happens its normally because there are too many parties involved like in Belgum where all parties receive less than 20 percent of the vote. In Holland a collapse happened when there was a fundamental disagreement over Afghanistan. However a single party in power can also be split due to a fundamental disagreement that can lead to a leadership contest or even worse a full split or collapse (although a collapse is not that common). A single party is not a guarantee of steady and stable government.

We should not fear a hung parliament but embrace it because it is not a bad thing but a refreshing change that is welcome after the expenses scandal and the required reforms. It would be a welcome breath of fresh air.

Todays link is the The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is a weekly Science podcast talkshow discussing the latest news and topics from the world of the paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

General election Bracknell‏

At last a general election has been called for the 6th May.

I will cover events of the election here in Bracknell as well as national issues. I believe Bracknell's battle to come second is much more interesting than the expected Conservative win as 2nd place has been getting closer every year. The Conservatives have a massive majority of 12,000 votes.

I will bring you a number of Q A with local Independent candidates as the main parties will receive plenty of exposure and I feel I need to offer my local blog readers an extra service by providing some details on local independents.

Personally as many of my readers know I will be doing my best to help out the hard working local Liberal Democrats who are standing in local elections as I feel I can make a difference there as well as helping out my local party.

I however will cover the election fairly with of course my own personal comments and feelings on the matters and will always blog my thoughts no matter what any party line is.

So what better way to kick this election off then with a song from Wokingham Independent Mark Ashwell...Enjoy
And a video from the Labservatives (and there ends any form of campaigning on this blog site).

Todays Link is Michael Heaver who is a UKIP blogger only 20 years old and was School's Question Time Student panellist in 2008. He is currently studying European Politics.

Councillor dismissed after benefit claim investigation survives Standard Committee‏

As blogged before here when Bracknell blog reported before the local papers on the dismissal of Borough Councillor Denise Whitbread from Holyport Cof E Primary School in 2008 after receiving social security benefits and after being found guilty of professional misconduct by the General Teaching Council of England (GTC) following an investigation by the Work and Pensions department and the Bracknell Borough Council.

A meeting of the referrals Sub-Committee of Bracknell Forest Council's Standards Committee have examined a complaint by the Bracknell Liberal Democrats about the conduct of Borough Councillor Denise Whitbread.

I can report that the Sub-Committee have rejected the complaint and the grounds that Denise conduct did not fall within the scope of the Code of Conduct in relation to her duties as a councillor.

Ray Earwicker, Lib Dem PPC for Bracknell, said 'it was outrageous that the Code of Conduct had been interpreted in this way. Elected representatives were also accountable to those that elected them and the community as a whole. Cllr Whitbread's action clearly served to undermine the confidence and trust that was placed in her when she was elected to serve the residents of Wildridings and Central in 2007.'

There is a possibility of an appeal by the Liberal Democrats by I guess this would result in the same conclusion by the Sub-Committee. It looks like that the only chance people will have their say on this issue will be during the next council election in 2011.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Bring back the Old Tories. Why? It's the economy stupid

I can see how the slogan 'we will cut the deficit not the NHS' would work as a guarantee. But now the Tories are promising to not increase National Insurance and some how ensure that cancer drugs that are not approved by NICE for funding reasons are still paid for. Is this some kind of magic?

It maybe right to ensure that people can get hold of cancer drugs but something else will have to be cut to pay for it. I certainly would like too see all of us get the medical drugs we need.

Once upon a time it was the Liberal Democrats who were accused of unrealistic spending plans. The Lib Dems have improved there spending ideas with paid for plans for each policy. Of course the accusation leveled at the Lib Dems was that they can promise whatever they want because they will never get in.

The Tories however have a very relistic chance of winning this general election and yet they are coming out with tax cut plans and spending guarantees. This would of course be great and I do understand that big government can be cut, which im all for. I'm all for a cut in tax too. But it can't be done for a very long time.

If the Tories want to cut as soon as they are in government then how can they make all these promises. Are the Tories not tying their hands behind their back or seting themselves up for a fall?

I don't want too see the famous Geoffrey Howe budget of 1981 which caused a short recession due to the spending cuts. But they can't promise all these guarantees on spending. Anyone who has watched the BBC programs on the Great Offices of State will realise that you don't really know how bad the situation is until your actually in office. So don't promise the earth.

When Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson came to office he also made a number of promises. His then Chancellor Jim Callaghan discovered that the balance of payments were even worse then they believed in opposition. He had to make a speech to the nation telling the public that they can't spend. Will the Tories have to do the same thing if they win?

Will will find ourselves in the crazy situation of having the Lib Dem part of a Tory/Lib Dem coalition trying to control government spending and bring in realism into the Tory plans.

While I approve of the Tories modernising their party, I think they are going a little too far on their economic promises. This time more then any other is the time to get real otherwise the Conservative Party may pay for it themselves as will the rest of us.

Todays Link is D.R.Scott's Pulp Culture. its Skeptical observations about TV, movies, sci-fi, comics, politics, Life, The Universe and Everything. There has not been any postings for a while but I just enjoyed the old ones.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Tweet Highlight #SackChrisGrayling defending the Tory party

Last night a story broke where the Observer (story here) secretly taped a conversation with (Chris Grayling Conservative shadow home secretary) suggesting that people who run bed and breakfasts in their homes should "have the right" to turn away homosexual couples.

Firstly this may of been recorded in secret but Chris Grayling was at a public meeting of a leading centre-right think tank.

Secondly just because a senior Tory says something in a misguided belief that he is defending peoples right to invite people to their own home does not mean that the whole Tory party is some how homophobic.

How can a party that backs gay civil partnerships with tax incentives be Homophobic. Last night a number of Left twitters claimed that this was 'the same old Tory party' and that 'they were all Homophobic'. You don't have to be Tory to be homophobic, im afraid there are plenty of people on all sides who still are and will remain so nomatter what legislation a government brings in.

Tories are not rushing to defend Chris Grayling See Iain Dales Blog 'Why I Have to Disagree With Chris Grayling'.

Personally I think this is a simple case. The couple have a moral disagreement with people being gay and they run a B&B from their own home. If your in your own home you can ban or exclude anyone you want. However if you decide to turn your home into a B&B. You are turning your home into a hotel and a business. In which case a business can't simply turn people away because you disagree with their practices on moral grounds. If you can't accept a minority for whatever reason in a business then you can not disciminate that minority. In which case you are in the wrong business or your should not open up your private home as a B&B.

I would also add that Chris Grayling appears to be making a number of errors of judgement and I belief there are people in the conservative party who are more suited to the Home Secretary role. Home Secretary is a very difficult job and Chris will come under much heavier scrutiny in this role. I would not sack him but if the Conservatives win the next election then I would put someone else in that difficult position because I fear Chris will not survive there long.

Todays link is which is 'A voice of reason against illiberal nonsense'

Friday, 2 April 2010

Newsweek:Bracknell area politics

Reading List have asked me to add this new feature Newsweek.

Taken from Reading List: Newsweek is a catalogue of political stories culled from other local sources.

It's always worth collecting together a selection of individual news stories to compare and contrast what's being said by people on different sides,.

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

If you know of any other local political stories then please add them in the comments below.