Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ed Miliband's £1,373 tax bombshell scare

Conservative Home are carrying a story on a perceived Ed Miliband's £1,373 tax bombshell. It states;

'Tonight Matt Hancock has returned to the attack, accusing the new Labour leader of needing £35bn of tax rises to meet his plans.

* £35bn of tax rises means £1,373 per household...
* Equivalent to 7p on Income tax or VAT of 25% or £1.59 on every litre of petrol.'

This is based on what Ed Miliband stated while running for the Labour leadership using both the governments deficit reducing measures that he opposes and the spending promises he made. But to be honest I think this no basis for a Labour government policy.

Yes They may be more likely to increase taxes and cut less. But they also plan to do this over a longer period. I thinks its fair to argue that Labour would have to tax more but not coming up with some superficial figure.

Matt Hancock MP really has no idea what Ed Miliband and Labour will plan to do in government, this is just scare tactics. This is the sort of rubbish that turns people off from politics and I wish parties and MP's would leave this rubbish to the newspapers.

John Leech MP told me he abstained from coalition agreement

Jonathan Calder at Liberal England is puzzled as to why John Leech MP for Manchester Withington declared at a Labour conference fringe that he abstained from the vote on the coalition agreement.
In a moment of blogger fail I missed a chance to break some exclusive news. I can reveal that John Leech did tell me and LibDemKitty at the Liberal Democrat conference that he did abstain from this vote.
I suspect John Leech was happy for this news to be gently discovered, after all the Lib Dem MP's already know who abstained. Now bearing in mind that I had a little to drink and cannot remember the full details of what John Leech said to me that evening. I do remember that even though he supports the coalition agreement he couldn't vote for it. He gave me the impression that he was being pragmatic, after all he is the MP for the South of Manchester a seat won of Labour. I believe that in his heart of hearts he just could not do it. John Leech understands why as he wrote on his blog but he does also understand his electorate. An electorate that has a large labour vote (Labour had 44.7% and Liberal Democrats 40.5% this year). His seat is at risk as it is a seat where he is fighting Labour (although I suspect his vote is pure Lib Dem and some soft Tories which should keep him in).
John does agrees with the coalition given the circumstances, but he does understand that he will have a fight on his hands to keep his seat.
John Leech has done well to keep his seat this time round and indeed increase his majority. I do remember during the election some from Labour claiming they will win this seat back after all in 2005 John Leech only had a majority of 667.
John Leech certainly won't have a problem with any future coalition with Labour, after all he did say "The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.  Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last thirteen years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so comfortable in now". (perhaps possible with Ed Miliband at the Labour helm given his speech at Labour conference).
So in summary, perhaps John Leech should of told his electorate first but it is now history. I do think he should let his electorate know now he has revealed this information through the local press or on his web site.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pay Cleaners More!

I have read this article in Fridays Evening Standard 'UCL chief: Paying living wage would cost £1m a year ... and I don't have it'
Taken from the article;

Bentham, who died soon after co-founding the college in 1826, is venerated as "the godfather of UCL" for his "advocacy for the poor and of human rights" — and it is customary for students in their graduation gowns to be photographed here by proud parents.

But were Bentham alive today, one shudders at what he'd make of the Scrooge-like actions of the university's head, Professor Grant, and the escalating row over the poverty wages he pays to campus cleaners.

The UCL Living Wage Campaign, a coalition of cleaners, students, alumni and academic staff formed two years ago, has demanded that contract cleaners at UCL get paid the living wage of £7.85 an hour — the threshold needed to survive in London — instead of the minimum wage of £5.80 an hour.

But Professor Grant, 63, the second-highest paid university head in the country, whose remuneration of £404,000 last year comfortably exceeded the heads of Oxford (£327,000) and Cambridge (£246,000), has rebuffed them.'


I am constantly disgusted by the way we treat cleaners in this country. Cleaning should be an important job, but when it comes to cleaning we try our best to get this service down to the bare bones.

This is why it's mostly poor immigrants who take up these jobs and not Brits. Cleaning jobs do not pay enough for Brits to live on. I used to do one of these cleaning jobs before going to college 20 years ago, when I was paid £5 per hour (not that far from today's minimum wage. What has happened! Why do we not respect the job of cleaners. Imagine how much cleaners would be paid if there was no minimum wage?
I'm certain that this is an issue at some companies in Bracknell as we have Ghanaians who are working in our companies scraping a living from these part time jobs, just as people all round the country do.
We do need to pay a living wage for cleaning and we do need to have more respect for cleaning and cleaners as they do a very important job, One which most people these days simply wouldn't consider.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Good Luck Ed

I rather enjoyed this blog 'Yes' on the Scarlet Standard, Emma Burnell should win the award for shortest blog!.

I'm pleased for Ed Miliband, for Labour, for progressive politics and maybe even for AV as Miliband is known to be a supporter.

Yes most MP's and members voted for David Miliband but I very much doubt Labour are split down the middle as some TV media have already speculated. Yes 10% of union members voted and this added to a 3rd of the vote. That is shockly unfair on the party members that are not also unions members (Who get a lesser vote due to numbers). The last round was David Miliband 49.35% (17.81% MPs and MEPs, 18.14% members, 13.40% unions), Ed Miliband 50.65% (15.52% MPs and MEPs, 15.1% members, 19.92% unions).

Just like all the speculation around the Liberal Democrats or the coalition the media are hunting for difference. I'm a big fan of different views in parties and I don't see why at this point it should be a problem for Labour. Labour will unite around their candidate. I do not wish them to have the number of leader changes the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats had while Tony Blair was in power. It's not that fun.

Full round of results are;
* Round 1: David Miliband 37.78%, Ed Miliband 34.33% Diane Abbott eliminated
* Round 2: David Miliband 38.89%, Ed Miliband 37.47%. Andy Burnham eliminated
* Round 3: David Miliband 42.72%, Ed Miliband 41.26%, Ed Balls eliminated
* Round 4: David Miliband 49.35%, Ed Miliband 50.65%. Ed Miliband wins.

All that said I do hope Ed Miliband does not choose Ed Balls to be his shadow chancellor. I don't think that would be a popular move among the public.

Todays link is to Stephen Liberal Jounal who uses MArk Reckons Tweet to explain that theres Six Votes In It: Ed Miliband's Margin of Victory.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Wind Farms, whats the problem?

Yesterday the world's biggest offshore wind farm off the Kent coast was officially opened. There was plenty of news reports taking the wind farm in isolation. I do understand that this technology is expensive and that British ports can't handle the larger blades. Although in return for General Electrics £100million investment they want the government to enhance an existing UK port to handle the large blades used in offshore wind turbines. Once this is done then new wind turbine factories can be built near the port. The cost will come down over time.

I also understand that if the wind speed is too low or even too high then the turbines can not operate, but power projects are based on average wind not constant wind. There is also a plan to make it easier for people to produce their own electricity and sell it to the grid, like in Germany this will reduced energy consumption.

Wind farms are subsidised just as nuclear power plants are. The cost of decommissioning a plant is picked up by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Coal of course is cheap but it still has to be imported. Oil and gas have very large political issues attached and are not secure from the will of other countries such as Russia. The cost of fossil fuels is also based on current prices however this cost is likely to increase for oil and gas in particular due to the increasing hard to find supply.

So we need a mix of secure energy solutions for the modern world. Putting climate change aside why should we use such polluting power stations. Small particle pollution from power stations has an impact on our health and on such things as acid rain and plant growth. Britain should be leading the way in green technology, green jobs, reducing pollution and energy security.

Also whats all this about an eyesore, are other forms of power stations not an eyesore? beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Details of new power stations can be found on good old Wikipedia, England, Wales, Scotland these list include new coal fired power stations.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

BBC Question Time Live Chat 23 September 2010 #bbcqt

Matt Raven is running the BBC Question Time Live Chat 23 September 2010 #bbcqt this week.
As readers will know Mark Reckons used to run this live chat and last week I covered the Labour Party Leadership Special Question Time live chat. I made an agreement with Matt Raven after we both saw a live chat gap in the market. I won't beable to regularly man a live chat and therefore can't commit. So it is Time for Matt to take up the mantle. The next 3 Question Times are from the party conferences (although Liberal Democrat Conference is now over).
So this week from Liverpool will be Vince Cable Lib Dem MP and Business Secretary, Caroline Flint Labour MP for Don Valley, Ian Hislop Editor of Private Eye and Have I got News for you fame, Mehdi Hasan of New Statesman and our almost local MP for Wokingham, John Redwood.

Please pop over their from 10.30pm today.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Setup for a coalition?

One of the fridge meetings I attended at the Liberal Democrat conference was a debate asking if the coalition was the correct thing to do. During this discussion I learnt that Nick Clegg had changed his email because he was not receiving some important emails from the filter of White Hall officials. I also learnt that some believed Lib Dems had not been provided with the same resources as others. This demostrates that our civil service is not setup for a coalition (not a shock I know). Nor is the Lib Dem party organised for a coalition, a party that believes in coalitions.

One problem of course is the c
abinet collective responsibility and individual ministerial responsibility conventions. The former requires that cabinet ministers must publicly support government policy, even if they disagreed with it in private cabinet meetings. Ministers who wish to openly disagree with government policy must resign. This of course is difficult when everyone knows your position through party policy.
I think Chris Huhne tackled this subject quite well in his speech at the Liberal Democrat conference where he said;

"The coalition agreement, of course, involves give and take. I expect George Osborne to take more millions of the low-paid out of income tax even though he is a Conservative minister implementing a Liberal Democrat pledge. And George Osborne expects me to deliver our agreement on nuclear power, which is that there is an important place for new nuclear stations in our energy mix as long as there is no public subsidy. A deal is a deal, and I will deliver. I'm fed up with the stand-off between renewable and nuclear which means we have neither – we will have both. We will have low carbon energy, and security of supply."

So this is how Lib Dem ministers have to handle policy that is agreed in the coalition, but may not agree with fully. However Lib Dem back benchers can express Lib Dem policy which may not agree with coalition policy. I think we could temporary redesign our party for a coalition. One idea I have is to put Lib Dem backbench MP's in mirrored major ministeral positions, i.e. a mini shadow cabinet only for the major offices. The mini shadow cabinet don't have to criticise the ministers personally but the could put forward Lib Dem policy verse coalition policy. A voice of the Lib Dems to clearly separate coalition policy from Lib Dem and Tory policy. Maybe the Tories could do this too?

I think the puplic are getting used to a coalition and the longer it stays in place the more people will accept that a given coalition can survive. But we also need to demonstrate to the public that the coalition is made up of two very different parties.

Baby hatch and dancing boys shame

I have read this on the KambingBujang blog 'Why Introducing Baby Hatch Is A Really Bad Idea'.
'The Baby Hatch has been introduced in Malaysia. Yes. Another step, I shall say giant step, toward higher society; to make our country a better place. The statistic showed that dumping the babies cases are surprisingly increasing every year, where 407 babies were abandoned throughout 2005 to 2008.'
It's not that I think a baby hatch is a bad idea. It's just that it's a shame that one is required. What is also a shame is that this blogger is more worried about Islamic image. They write 'I think the hatch is a really, really, bad idea. In the a long term, another problems emerge on our Islamic society, which give us nightmare and bad image as an Islamic country.'

If I was this blogger, I would be more worried about the reasons why this hatch is required. Sometimes I do wonder what kind of world we are living in. Of course this is the same world where boys are dressed up as women and then sexually abused in the name of tradition, see dancing boys of Afghanistan.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Daily Mail or Bully Boy - Tax evasion

Today's Daily Mail headline is 'Clegg tax war on the better-off: Tens of thousands face 'bully boy' investigations in new crackdown'.

There is no pleasing some papers some times is there? Of course the Daily Mail is happy to attack any party that does not agree with it's agenda.

But why does the Daily Mail not think that tax evasion is some how ok. This is not bully boy tactics it is simply investigations to find Illegal tax evasion. There not knocking on the door with cricket bats threating to get you to pay more tax. The investigators are looking for people who have illegally not paid there tax.

I would go further than Nick Clegg who said that "Illegal evasion are 'just as bad' as falsely claiming benefits". I don't agree with Nick here, in my mind tax evasion is worse than benefit cheating. Why? Because in general benefit cheating is the poor claiming more than they should where as tax evasion is not paying tax when you already have plenty of money.

I'm also not sure why the Daily Mail thinks that people earning over £150k are their average middle class readers (The Daily Mail often sights the middle class).  Ok so some pay 50p on their income above this level through PAYE. However most middle class people simply do not earn this kind of money or if they do, their are only just over (less than 1% earn over £150k)

Also in defence of the attacks from the left, that say that the estimated £7billion over 5 years is not enough from the estimated £15billion per year of evaded tax. This is a fair attempt to get some of this tax money as it is hard to find and investigate. It's like illegal immigration, because it is illegal we don't actually know the numbers. Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) could of easily claimed that the government were going to get more from this initiative because we simply don't know.

I also wonder if it's worth testing the Daily Mail. Perhaps Liberal Democrats could claim at conference that we are going to deport all the burka wearing muslim immigrants who are claiming for benefits from the state for their 10 children today. Lib Dems could add that their will now only be weekly bin collections, remove all taxes from the middle class onto the poor, remove unemployment benefit and ban gay people. Then I expect they will still find a reason to hate us. After all Clegg is a Nazi.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Cable criticising the temporary cap in reply to 'Stick that on your blog!'

If you read the headlines you may think that Vince Cable, Business Secretary is criticising the Cap on immigration, well if you look at the detail your see its the temporary and arbitrary cap that he is criticising.
I was emailed this today by someone who works in IT;
'So the Lib Dems lost my support and vote yesterday when Vince Cable again insisted that a cap on non-eu immigration would hurt businesses who cannot recruit the right staff. He is missing the point. As far as businesses are concerned they cannot recruit staff AS CHEAPLY AS THEY WOULD LIKE. Surely the right way forward is to ensure graduates in this country are trained to be able to meet demand for jobs here, including company sponsored and maybe govt subsidised schemes? Nothing wrong with a bit of investing in your future is there?
I would imagine that Mr Cable's policy would ensure IT graduates will be the highest percentage of the post-graduate unemployed community, if they are not already. Am I missing something here? I thought economics worked like this:
High GDP from local populace = ability to spend and help business grow + good tax revenue (- overcrowding) = good services and a nice place to live / high house prices.
High GDP - lower paid workers from outside EU x additional drain on local services - watered down tax revenues + overcrowding - graduate employment = not a good place to live or have prospects.
Stick that on your blog!'
It is not wrong to say that some companies are considering moving jobs abroad because they could not recruit the staff they needed, when some of those companies moved here because of our employment laws. Cable is right campaign for the cap to be applied flexibly. It need to be much more targeted and clever, its too simple.
He's not alone in thinking this politicians from all main parties like Shadow Business Secretary Pat McFadden and Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson have also raised the issue.
Readers of my blog will know that I have covered this subject a few times, we need to protect jobs in Britain from on shoring of cheaper labour. I am not against immigration just wait to see a fair system. Immigration effects not just low paid jobs but professional jobs too. We must also bear in mind that emigration is part of this equation and to be a global player you need a certain amount of free movement of people just like in the EU.
In response to the above email I also received this reply;
'The temporary cap has disproportionately hit legitimate businesses and organisations that use only a small number of migrants workers, employ mainly UK workers and pay UK corporation tax. It does not affect the main abusers using intra company transfer visas.
I have 3 points to raise.
A) The distribution of tier 2 general certificates of sponsorship should consider the value of the sponsor. Those sponsors that mostly employ UK workers and pay the most UK corporation tax should have preference over those that don't. If a new business is going to employ a hundred UK workers but needs a couple migrant workers to start up then it should be allowed to bring those in. If a business plans to bring in 500 "engineers" then I would want to know why.
B) The tier 2 intra company transfer is not covered by the cap but is the most open to abuse.
C) Tier 2 migrant workers are tied to their employers and this seems a very illiberal way to run things. It is open to abuse and underpaying. Less than 1% of businesses have sponsorship licenses, so only a small group benefit from the system. If these workers are so vital to the UK then they should be able to move employers to give the maximum benefit to the economy. However many are doing low paid work (e.g. chefs on £8.40 per hour and care workers on £7.80 per hour) and they are likely to leave and do other better paid work (e.g. driving a taxi), so there really needs to be a lower UK salary limit of say £32k (median skilled worker salary) on tier 2. '
In the good old days companies would want to be here because of the skill and dynamism of the workforce. I still believe that is a valid pull.
Unfortunately the cap is the only thing on the table and the iterim/temporary cap is the first instance of that. It will cause problems.
The best thing about the cap is that it will force the government, business etc to choose what is best for the UK and implement rules that support this. 
Today's link is to Stephen Tall who also has 3 points to make in FT interview: Immigrant cap hits economy, says Cable

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Labour Party Leadership Special Question Time Live chat

Join me for the return of Question Time with the Labour Leadership Special.

David Dimbleby chairs as the five candidates - Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, David Miliband and Ed Miliband.

Starts at 10.30pm ready for BBC Question Time at 10.35pm

Save our Blogosphere

Spiderplant Land has put keyboard to blog and written a post about 'Encouraging the blogosphere and challenging the status quo' .The blogosphere has become a little predictable over the last year or so with no real movement. I think the bigger issue as Iain Dale points out (in (Is the MSM Eating Up the Blogosphere?). It is hacks and other established media blogs taking over from independent bloggers (that is to say bloggers who are not paid for by a media organisation).
Blogs should be an alternative to the media to allow other expression. This take over will hide the voices of the masses in threads rather than articles. This is not a good thing for free speech, we are liberated by the internet to express ourselves.
But you can help by letting other bloggers know about your blog.
Unfortunately I'm not aware of any new blogs that have continued for longer than a year. So if you are new to blogging please let me know in the comments. I will link to you in this post.

UPDATE: We have our first taker, a very new Labour blogger Ingoratio. His first two posts are Why it’s time we got excited about the Big Society  and Principles and how to get around them. Welcome to the Blogosphere.

Lib Dem Conference diary Update

This weekend I will be away from the Blog and Bracknell at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool. I will try to bring reports or pictures if anything interesting happens (like these planned protests). It will be interesting for me to see more media and high security at a Liberal Democrat Conference.
I thought it would be a good idea to list my program for Saturday and Sunday just in-case any other readers are attending the conference as there is an opportunity to meet. Sunday evening I will be in Manchester as I am staying with a friend.
Lib Dem Conference plan
In addition to my visits to the main hall I will be attending a number fringe events;
18.30 - 19-30 Yes to reform! Winning the battle
With Nick Clegg and guests. A rally with the Electoral Reform Society to launch Liberal Democrat support for the Yes! To Fairer Votes campaign in next year's AV referendum.

20:00 to 21:15 What now for Green Issues in the Coalition
About: Now we are in government, what will happen nationally to sustainability and environmental issues?
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Energy Minister, leads the discussion including a speaker from the Conservative Environmental

22.00 – 23.30
Blog Of The Year Awards 'Join LDV and online friends for a walk down the yellow carpet to award the 2010 BOTYs'. Mark Reckons is up for an award which, if he wins I will take it too him on his behalf.

07.15 – 08.30 London Detainee Support Group: The Detained Lives campaign
'The real cost of indefinite immigration detention The detention system needs reform. Migrants who cannot be deported are detained for years, at great human cost. How can we change the detention system to respect civil liberties, based on the manifesto pledge?'

13.00 – 14.00 CentreForum and Fabian Society
Is the Lib-Lab coalition gone forever? Speakers: Prof Richard Grayson; Norman Lamb MP; David Lammy MP; Stephen Twigg MP (tbc). Chair: Michael White, The Guardian.
or LibDemVoice Fringe are having a Mystery Event with a Mystery Co-sponsor to chew the fat on the coalition – from some surprising perspectives! Full details on our website closer to the time.

At some point after these events/debates I will be leaving to visit Manchester. So enjoy the TV coverage and I will do my best to bring you any stories using my limited resources of an Iphone.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

What does Bracknell think? PAYE mistake

My fat face is once again in the 'What Does Bracknell Think?' column of the Bracknell Standard.
The question asked was "The Government has admitted more than six million people have paid either too much or too little tax over the past year. Some people face paying back around £1,400 and some will even receive a rebate. The Inland Revenue says the money must be paid back within a year, is this fair as it is that organisation that has made the mistake?
My response published in the paper was;
Yet again a government computer system was not up to the job. In a way it's like a lottery waiting to see if you win or lose this week.
Bearing this in mind then it is tempting to say it is an Inland Revenue mistake therefore they must pay for their errors. But it is right that people pay their proper amount of tax and that refunds are made inline with this. At least it can be paid back over time. But I suspect if I get a bill for £1,400 I won't be very happy about it.
Please let me know what you think?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

No help on DAB radio's energy cost from DECC or Chris Hughes

If you remember my blog on 25th July where a number of local activists sent letters to Chris Hughes who is the Energy and Climate Change Secretary re DAB Radio Energy and Cost. Well we all received the same reply from the Department of Energy & Climate Change, well for what's its worth, here it is;

Thank you for your letter dated 9 July to Chris Huhne and your comments on DAB Radios and climate change. I have been asked to reply and apologise for the lengthy delay in doing so.

This government is committed to making the urgent decisions needed on energy and climate change. The Prime Minister has publicly stated that he wants to make this the greenest government ever'. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and the time we have to address it is short. But it also represents a real opportunity to drive forward innovation, job creation and competitiveness, supporting the UK economy while playing our full part in tackling global climate change.

You may wish to keep an eye on our website ( which is regularly updated with policy developments.

It also contains details of our open consultations to which you are welcome to contribute your views. The latest and most comprehensive expression on the Government's agenda, is set out in the Annual Energy Statement, which our Secretary of State, Chris Huhne, presented to Parliament on 27 July, details of which can be found at:

I hope that you find this helpful.

Yours sincerely
Matt Valentine
DECC Correspondence Unit

As you can see Matt Valentine totally ignored the contents of the letters, so one of our members has sent the letter below in reply to Matt. I think it speaks for itself;

Dear Mr.Valentine

DAB Radio and Climate Change Action Contradictions

Thank you for your letter, dated August 2010, replying to mine with the above heading, which was addressed to Chris Huhne MP, and dated 9th July.

I must say that I am very disappointed that you have made no attempt whatsoever to answer any of my questions, or to discuss any of the points that I made about adverse effects on climate change in my letter. Nothing you have said alters my conviction that this DAB radio conversion was the last government's response to pressures from the businesses and industries that are involved and that will benefit hugely from it. Nor does it ease my serious doubt that any adverse impacts on climate change were even remotely considered by that previous government.

Quite naturally, because of the green claims by both the Prime Minister David Cameron and his Deputy Nick Clegg, and also by the DECC Secretary of State Chris Huhne, I did expect much better from this new Coalition government. Yet, while this DAB radio changeover will have some very obvious links to job creation that you refer to, it most certainly not green jobs that are going to be created by it!

I hereby, once again, accuse the DECC of supporting a policy that is going to waste energy and accelerate climate change, not slow it down.

How can the DECC, possibly justify doing this? Is job creation and supporting the economy always going to win over climate change action?

Please tell me how this is going to save any energy whatsoever, even over the longer term, as compared with the sum total of all the energy that will be consumed in making this changeover, plus all the energy that will be wasted – the energy that was invested in making the analogue radios.

Please tell me how this is going help us play our part to stop global climate change. If you can offer me one shred of evidence or any persuasive argument that will prove me wrong I would be quite pleased to hear from you again.

I would be even more pleased to receive the courtesy of a more detailed reply from the actual gentleman that I took considerable trouble to write to in the first place, rather than have my letter discarded into the "distraction therapy unit" that you appear to be working in. This seems to be incapable of doing much more than issue stock phrases of reassurance to people's letters that the new minister finds too awkward for him to reply to himself.

I shall look at the website, and I will respond to any open consultations. However, in my experience, these are very often just a black hole into which concerned people take a lot of trouble to pour out their hearts, with their serious concerns and even constructive suggestions - yet where any unwelcome feedback is conveniently lost forever.

Most government consultations seem to me to exist to justify the claim to having had one.

Yours sincerely


In addition a letter has been send to our local MP Dr Phillip Lee who is Chairman of the All Party Committee on the Environment and is also a member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. We await his reply to, lets hope he actually reads the letter.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Challenging the result of Oldham is important for truth

It's quite right that Elwyn Watkins who was the Lib Dem PPC is challenging the result of Phil Woolas's election in Oldham (see Phil Woolas campaign 'sought to make white folk angry').

For far too long candidates and parties have told half truths or invented false claims about some candidates by some from all parties. I want to see this stopped.

It's not because Elwyn Watkins is a Liberal Democrat, after all Elwyn may lose a second time. I would support this even if this was a challenge from a Labour PPC to a Lib Dem MP. I believe some get away with too much in politics just like some newspaper reports do during election campaigns.

It is important that truth is defended and lies are exposed.

Todays link is to Nick Thornsby blog has news on a campaign in Oldham thats already started - Are Labour Preparing to Lose in Oldham East & Saddleworth?

TUC approves co-ordinated strikes

I'm not so sure co-ordinated strikes are really going to help protect jobs during cuts? This move will split the country and could build a concenus against the unions. I would prefer the union to offer other ideas to the coalition such as detail on where taxes could be increased and on what could be cut.

Lets not go back to the old days of industrial action. We need to change the economy so that we are not reliant on public sector jobs but have our own industrial and services base. We need to redirect funds to change our economy so we are not reliant on public spending to keep the wheels turning. It is a false economy.

I also wonder why the unions did not support Labour more before the general election. The unions were involved in industrial action that hurt the Labour government and yet they did not defend Labour policy until after they lost the election.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Weekend Video Fun

I'm away this weekend so I thought I would leave my readers with two entertaining political YouTube videos.

The first is Nigel Farage UKIP MEP who makes his feelings very clear.

The second video has been all over the bloggersphere. Chris Bryant Labour MP puts Kay Burley on SkyNews right when she asks some silly questions.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cap on expensive short term loans

Left Foot Forward has posted a link to the campaign to end legal loan sharking. The title of the campaign is a little misleadering as the Labour MP for Wigan, Lisa Nandy is actually calling for a cap on the charge for credit. However this is a better idea than a total ban. This will still allow credit lending to continue and will not stop these loans. Many People on low income need these loans to help them live from day to day.

The early day motion also calls for alternative sources of affordable credit. This is a must as it is very unfair the that the poorest in Britain pay the highest price for credit in Europe. It is also very important because as Tony Burkson on twitter points out 'Loan sharks exist because of demand' and 'not everyone can go to the bank for a loan.'

Please do join me in sending a letter to your local MP to ask them to sign the early day motion. This can be done very easily at

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Blog & Newsweek: 17 Bracknell & national politics

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

Local News

Arrests after demo at atomic weapons base in Berkshire

Work on £400m Reading railway station revamp shuts road - This will improve train services for the whole area.

Fight to defend communities - I'm tempted to join them.

Green light for green belt shops - I support a craft village as the buildings are already there.

Cuts will fuel shortage of housing’ alert

Local Links

The top local Blogger Mark Reckons is Bowing Out I blogged about this here Mark Reckons is bowing out. Who can blame him.

Koran burning – have people in the US finally started mating with vegetables? - On Liberal Burblings

Green Reading has The car that runs on human waste

National Link (Links of the day)

Bloggerheads has Conservatives and the dangerous games they play

Walaa Idris has The Politics of Politics!

Old Holborn examines Andy Coulson the News of the World and Iain Dales (Coulson's Accusers Can Go to Hell) defence of him in Stop being so naive Iain...

Local Event Reminder

Memory Walk 2010 - Sunday 12th September 2010 organised by the Alzheimer's Society.

Monday, 6 September 2010

In the good and bad charts

It appears Bracknell Blog has made number 29 of the Total Politics Top 75 Liberal Democrat blogs. Thank you to anyone that voted for me. I only bother to do this because you read this blog.

But it also appears I have made it into the top 100 The UK's 100 Worst Political Blogs. Oh well swings and roundabouts. Lets hope its because I annoyed someone!

Press on Andy Coulson is bring results

Old Holborn is rightly suspicious of the News of The World and in turn Andy Coulson. See Stop being so naive Iain...

I think it is very wrong to not employ people because of their previous history when nothing has been proven. Problem is this is politics and its nasty and dirty. Perhaps it is better for politicians to not employ the services of controversial figures even if they are good at their

I'm certainly no fan of Andy Coulson or the News of the World and I remain suspicious of his involvement in the phone hacking scandal. But the prove does seem tenuous.

One thing is for certain now that the Metropolitan Police is to examine new evidence, this is further proof that the more you can keep a story in the public eye the more chance the media and supporters of the story have of getting a result and a scalp.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Have Lib Dems lost their innocence‏?

The problem with being out of power is that people accuse the party of not being capable of being in power and of having high and mighty ideas that in reality are not practical. This practicality of policy takes a tougher test when spending needs to be cut. The reality test is something Labour may have to consider at some point during the next few years as you can't campaign on making cuts later if there is not a recession and that time has passed.

Of course I would say that Lib Dem policies were practical and great steps have been made to justify the cost of these policies in recent times. But now the Lib Dem's can say look we can handle power. Problem is we also can't say, look we are different as we have not been tainted by power. We can not appear as innocence and separate ourselves from the two bigger parties because we are now part of the same homogenous group of those that have been in government.

Making a case for being different, refreshing and for change will not perhaps be possible. It's going to be very hard to change our way of campaigning now that we have been bloodied by government.

Liberal Democrats have lost their innocence or at least I know I have. Because we are no longer the sandal wearing geeky Liberal but a suit wearing embattled Liberal.

Friday, 3 September 2010

A-level and GCSE results

I was lucky enough to get my fat face again on the inside pages of the Bracknell Standard. For What Does Bracknell Think?

This week's question was - With record A-level results recorded in Bracknell last week and record GCSE results predicted for tomorrow, are exams getting too easy? Also, with more pupils going after fewer university places, should more pupils be encouraged to leave school to pursue a career rather than doing A-levels.

My Answer published in last weeks paper was;

I doubt exams are any easier today, however I suspect teaching maybe targeted much more at passing exams then they used to be. This could partly explain the increased pass rate. We too often knock young people when many young people are hard working and certainly better behaved then I was. Every generation does this.

As someone who didn't go to university I do hold it as a personal regret for missing out on the experience rather then the learning. I felt that, myself and my parents could not afford the cost even back then. I don't feel it's held me back. For that reason I would like to see much more skills learning like the kind of hands on courses which are available at Bracknell and Wokingham college.

Your not a failure if you don't go to university its not for everyone.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

This makes me want to leave politics

Today I tweeted this "@GuidoFawkes Disgusting you & the press have lost a man his job, caused family heartache & have committed a big error @iaindale was right" (see Guido Fawkes Should Cease & Desist). This was in response to Christopher Myers resigns from the FCO, citing “untrue and malicious allegations” with William Hague. See Guy Fawkes Blog Exclusive : Hague Shared Night in Hotel Bedroom with SpAd.

This type of story where the media and/or bloggers try to out someone for being gay and therefore cheating on their wife because two men share the same room (yep I have done this too, so what? no nothing happened!). Sharing rooms is a good idea, it keeps the cost down.

This just the kind of thing that makes me want to leave politics.

I'm in this game to make a difference and I am happy to disagree and argue out different views. I understand that the vast majority of people who are in politics are there for good reasons. Me may just disagree on how to get there and how to achieve the best results and on our priorities, political beliefs and how to use power. But I am not in this game to slag of people's personalities as with the recent Labour books or examine politicians personal lifes.

Please can we just get on with governing the country and can we critise the government for what they do and not who we think the people in it could or could not be doing in their private lives.

I have had a drink with GuidoFawkes at last years Liberal Democrat conference. Hes a very interesting chap to share some beers with. I just think he has called this one wrong. I would like to see him be big enough to admit this. We wait an see.