Archive for January, 2008

First Feltham North story on the blog

January 31, 2008

There has been a crackdown on the illegal use of blue badges in my ward.  Read all about it here.  Many congratulations to all involved, including Sergeant Sinclair!

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As we thought…

January 31, 2008

Rudy Giuliani has pulled out of the Republican race.  I am disappointed about how this has worked out because, lets face it, he is up there amongst those in the US who have the most name recognition here.   It is not simply that he has a record of achievement but I always like intelligent people who can pack their argument into a good message (no, I am not talking about spin) and put in a way that can be understood by all punters.

Giuliani is now backing John McCain (as I am, and to an extent for the same reasons as those expressed by Iain Dale).  A McCain-Giuliani ticket, perhaps?

Woodland Fun Day at Hanworth Park

January 30, 2008

Trees for Cities in partnership with Green Corridor, CIP and Hounslow Council have been undertaking a three-year community tree-planting project within Hanworth Park.

The first stage (year 1) was celebrated by tree planting with a Woodland Fun Day last Saturday.  I do not think that the weather could have been much better, though I wore my hat that has received quite a bit of commentary of late.  I took my daughter along and, as you will see, she had her face nose painted.

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Compared to many other London Boroughs, we are very lucky with the amount of green spaces that we have.  Nevertheless, I do like initiatives like this, especially the exposure that this gives to younger residents.

I am informed that 1500 whips were planted at the event with further whips to be planted by corporate volunteers and school children.  Many congratulations (and thanks) to all!

Which US Presidential Candidate are you most like?

January 30, 2008

I read about Electoral Compass on Paul Bristow’s blog.  The site calculates which of the Presidential Candidates you are closest to in terms of policy.  As Paul points out, there are questions on abortion, gun control, and the death penalty that would never appear on a UK electoral compass.

Just took the test and the one I am closest to is Ron Paul, though not too far from Rudy Giuliani.  According to the site, my position is that I am economic right (though not hugely) and I am neither Social Conservative or Social Liberal (I am ever so slightly leaning towards the former).

The test takes a few minutes.  Where do you appear on the compass?

That was a long Borough Council Meeting

January 30, 2008

Well, got home at 11:20pm as the meeting did not finish until around 10:45pm.  Click here for a link to the agenda.

A majority of the meeting was spent on agenda item 7 as the Labour Group tabled sixteen amendments.  I also tabled a motion, which was seconded by Councillor Paul Fisher from the Community Group.  This motion pointed out that were Borough Council to accept all of the amendments it would reduce the amount of efficiency savings by £675,800.  Fortunately, all of the amendments were rejected by Borough Council and were seen by most of us as frivolous.

To watch & listen to any of the debates, click here.

Update: On the Brentford TW8 Forum, my Executive colleague Councillor Phil Andrews (Leader of the Community Group), said the following earlier today:

“New Labour spent two hours trying to persuade us to retain posts which were already unfilled and in many cases had been for several years.  There seemed to be a contest between cronies to see who could table the most absurd amendment. 

IMHO the opposition has lost any of the credibility which it would need in order to make a case when the real debate has to be had in March.  The only credible opposition these days is coming from the Lib Dems and John Connelly (although the latter wasn’t there last night). 

I don’t know why I feel embarrassed for New Labour.  I am not, after all, a member of their party.  But the word is that many of their people on the ground are unhappy with their performance, and it isn’t difficult for the neutral observer to appreciate why.

I strongly recommend the webcast.”

I agree with what Phil says.  I thought that the 2002-2006 Labour administration performed terribly in the Chamber and were frequently unable to answer questions, exacerbated by a subsequent failure to follow up on questions or requests for information.  The Labour Group has proved itself to be even less effective in opposition.

Before I am accused of being excessively partisan, I would say two things:

  1. If you get a chance, watch the webcast, and judge for yourself.
  2. I have previously acknowledged that there were/are a number of exceptions.  When I first took an interest in the Council, I thought that the former Labour Leader, John Connelly (Hounslow Heath), was excellent in the Chamber and was keen and willing to answer questions.  Amongst the previous Executive, I thought that Amrit Mann (Heston East) was very impressive indeed and had a real understanding of his portfolio.  He too was impressive in the Chamber.  There were others too such as Valerie Lamey & Ron Bartholomew who made some good contributions to debate.  John Cooper (Feltham West) is very good at West Area Committee.  Of the 2006 intake in the Labour Group, I have taken a liking to both Matt Harmer (Brentford) & Lily Bath (Hounslow Central) – they make constructive argument and, more generally, give me the impression that they are getting stuck into the role of representing their constituents.  This matters more than party politics.  [I am beginning to digress a little]…

I do not have a beef with anyone personally in the Labour Group but every tier of Government really needs good opposition.

What a Commons Performance!

January 28, 2008

This is a brilliant Commons performance.  He has to be the best, and funniest, Parliamentarian in a whole generation.

I am going to give some thought to what other great orators and debaters are/were in Parliament.

Latest on the US Presidential elections!

January 27, 2008

The race for the two nominations appear to be the closest in my lifetime.  The stunning victory for Barack Obama in South Carolina may have swung the pendulum back in his favour in the race for the Democrat nomination.

Who am I backing?  Unlike a number of Conservative Party colleagues, I am not comfortable in supporting a Democrat.  My choice for the GOP nomination from the start has been Rudy Giuliani but I have never known a campaign like his before, where he has adopted such a high risk strategy in putting all of his focus on Florida.  The indications from polls are that this has not been successful.  I am sure he is worried to see that the Governor for Florida has thrown his weight behind Senator McCain.  Senator McCain has always come across to me as a good man but I do have difficulty with politicians who entertain an amnesty of any kind on illegal immigration.

For any Conservatives looking for some intellectual stimulation or just something different from the GOP tent, read more about Congressman Ron Paul.  Whenever, I am in the US, I like to watch Meet the Press on MSNBC (I have recently discovered I can pick this up on Sky Digital).  I recommend the interview with Ron Paul (see link to netcast on the right side of the page.

Wage cut to be an MP? Huge cost to get elected?

January 27, 2008

Another must read blog for any Conservative activist is the brilliant conservativehome.

Just came across an article about the financial impact that becoming an MP will have on some candidates.  I was not one of the candidates asked to take part in the survey but fortunately for me I will not see a reduction in my salary should the good people of Feltham and Heston decide to send me to Parliament.

To be honest, I breathe and even deeper sigh of relief when I read that 49% of those surveyed expect to incur costs of more than £41,500 in becoming an MP.  As friends know, I only applied to stand in this constituency because that is where my heart is and it is where I live.  I do not envy other candidates who need to travel long distances regularly (the price of petrol alone is bad enough), even if they are standing in seats that are seen as more winnable.

An unusual celebration – Tower miners

January 25, 2008

I do not recall a story similar to this so I thought I would comment on it.

I doubt very much whether many of these miners share my political views but this does not matter because they are an inspiration!  I remember buying a T-Shirt from them when they were fund raising to buy the pit and I also remember wearing it with pride even though it was too large for me at the time (would probably fit like a glove today).  I wanted these men to succeed so much and I am glad that they did!

Finally!

January 25, 2008

I finally got round to starting my blog!

It is certainly my intention to make regular comments and I expect that most of these will relate to the London Borough of Hounslow, my time as Parliamentary Candidate in Feltham & Heston and, of course, goings on in my wonderful Feltham North ward.

There are lots of tremendous political blogs out there, some of which have become a daily must read.  As always, I am keen to manage expectations and to paraphrase Lloyd Benson (Democrat Vice-Presidential Candidate in 1988) when he compared Dan Quayle (GOP Vice-Presidential Candidate in 1988)  to his friend, President Kennedy, I ain’t no Iain Dale!

Looking forward to sharing information/news/gossip and exchanging points of view with you!