30 April, 2006
Not how to recuperate. Still it is better than getting sore feet and muscle fatigue from pounding up and down steep roads in some parts of the borough.
Freddy had a huge amount of fun and was clearly exhausted by the end of the day.
The show was good fun even though I had a passionate Lefty (they do still exist) called John from Brockley giving me a hard time. I think I did OK but I can't tell because the program isn't available on listen again, it will be lost do us for ever.
If any one did hear it and want's to give feedback please get in touch
In two of the three cases resignations or sackings seem almost inevitable. Clarke’s department has made some serious mistakes and he has been less that forthcoming with the details of error. John Prescott seems to have abused his position.
I can’t really add more to these stories, I’ll let Labours actions speak for themselves. This is of course nothing new, Iain Dale has compiled a list of Labour sleeze and at the time of writing he had 70 on the list.
28 April, 2006
Notice that he has not presented Tony Blair or Gordon Brown with this list but David Cameron. This clearly shows that he expects David Cameron to be the next major policy implementer, and where do you implement policy? Number 10.
The Lib Dems love to use the “two horse race” analogy at election time, they clearly feel that the Conservatives are the real driving force in British politics and the race is between us and Labour.
I also find it interesting that the Greens are criticising the Conservatives' greater emphasis on environmental issues. They know that they cannot realistically form a government so their tactics should be to influence major parties, they won't do that by attacking parties for moving in the direction that they agree with.
This is the same department who, under Labour, lost control of our immigration system, mislaid over a 1,000 deportable prisoners and failed to implement a firearms database.
Even if I thought that the ID card proposals were a good idea in principle (which I don’t) I would have little faith that the Home Office could make it work in practice.
27 April, 2006
A very bad news day for New Labour.
In reality the fallout from these incidents hurt more than just the government and Labour party. Increasingly people feel that all politicians are in it for themselves, cannot tell the truth and won’t take responsibility for their actions. I find the deeply sad and worrying.
There are times when I even question whether or not I should be going into politics at all. Is it worth the very, very long hours and the loss of a private life? Do I want to be associated with a profession which is held in such low regard by so many people?
Then I think about the majority of people that I meet who are involved in politics, not schemers or schmoozers but hard working and dedicated people. And that is the case across the parties.
Earlier this week David Cameron made a speech in which he implored people to vote for anyone rather than the BNP. It could be argued that in a traditional Labour area a low voter turnout could benefit the Conservatives, but David was well aware that he had a bigger responsibility than short-term gain in these wards.
The Conservatives had problems and scandals and we were rightly punished in the polls because of them. The Labour party under Tony Blair have proven themselves totally unfit for government and need some “time off” to reflect on what they have done. The feeling that I get on the doorstep is that to a lesser degree the Lewisham Labour machine suffers from a similar lack of reflection time.
Clearly I want you to vote for me as the best chance of changing things here in Lewisham even if you don’t normally vote Conservative. More than that I want you not to give up on politics because with a few high profile exceptions the people involved are in it for the right reasons.
26 April, 2006
Ming Campbell however was so keen to get some media exposure out of the incident that he went off half cocked. I am still waiting for an example of the Lib Dems not being a joke.
New development on the Thames riverfront
More Deptford riverfront
The old officers' mess
Trinity Flats off of Evelyn Street
She was part of the Lee Green Conservative team that alerted local residents to the plans to erect mobile phone mast a few yards from a primary school. As a teacher she has a lot of experience with young people and is concerned about the poor educational results in Lewisham.
"Just for a laugh," writes a reader in Lewisham, "I mailed the three Labour candidates in my ward (New Cross) to ask them where they stood on ID cards." Simon, that was positively unhelpful. Identity cards are not an issue over which local councilors have any control, although Lewisham councilors did debate them last year and decided they were a good thing.
Nonetheless, two of the candidates did reply and one offered a particularly edifying perspective on the issue, which we reprint in full here.
"Hi Simon Thanks for the email on ID cards and National Identity Register and where I stand on This issue as you are a where this is an issue where this nation has major concern about I think in someways it has its good cause eg if you lost your Credit Card and if you are a pensioner and you lost your detailes ID Cards could come in handy but all in all I do not suport this policy Thank You for the Question."
New Cross is one of Labour's safest wards so there is a good chance that the author of the email will be a Lewisham councilor in just over a week. Do you really think that Lewisham deserves this level of incompetence? Vote Conservative and stop it from happening, the local Conservative team is Darren Pierce, Deborah Wellard and James Wright.
For the second year running thousands of low paid families will have to find money to pay back to the government.
Gordon Brown’s twin obsessions of centralising power around himself and means testing has created a system of benefits which hurt the very people that they are meant to help.
Rather than letting those on low pay keep more of their money in the first place by increasing tax thresholds Brown prefers to take the money off them, swill it around in the treasury for a while, give some of it back and then take some back again.
How this man has gained a reputation for competence is quite beyond me.
Up and down the country people are rejecting Labour and the Lib Dems and putting their faith in Conservative run councils because they know that Conservative councils are cleaner, greener, safer and cheaper.
I have been thinking about this situation and I cannot understand how an error of this magnitude could have happened. Do these people not have personal files which contain their notes? Do those files not have the words "Asses for deportation" stamped in big letters on the front and if not why not?
Rather than lecture people like me and the media about describing the current Home Office as ineffective and draconian Clarke should concentrate on doing his job.
25 April, 2006
Immigration in chaos, crime rates going through the roof, prisons overflowing, killers on early release and now 1,000 misplaced offenders who should have been deported.
If this wasn’t so serious it would be funny.
24 April, 2006
He is a practising barrister with an in-depth knowledge of highways, health and safety and planning law this experience will be invaluable in the council chamber.
Has lived in Lewisham for 12 years and has put himself forward as a councillor because he has become tired of Labour's mismanagement of the borough. Paul is a seasoned campaigner and has fought against Britain's membership of a federal Europe, he also passionately opposed the introduction of ID cards.
He is a big music fan and his diverse musical tastes cover punk, dub and northern soul.
23 April, 2006
It would be so much easier for him to make the world perfect if we he didn't have to worry about things like evidence, or proof of guilt etc. Then he could get anyone who he thought had broken the law (or disagreed with him or heckled him at a conference or read out the names of dead soldiers) and throw them in jail. Oh joy.
Add this to his almost fanatical desire to bring in ID cards and a national database and a pattern starts to emerge which I don't feel comfortable with at all.
I am beginning to think that I have woken up in Orwell's 1984.
What is his defence for this course of action? That it is what people want and that anyone who opposes it is "out of touch". Firstly I don't think that it is particularly popular. Secondly, even if it is popular it doesn't make it right.
The Conservatives have always been the party of individual liberty, choice and freedom. I always find it amusing when commentators imply that a reduction in civil liberties is a "right wing" move. History shows that whenever a government or regime curtails civil liberties and personal freedoms it has been a left wing government. Stalin was a communist as was Mao Tse-Tung, Hitler was a National Socialist, the Khmer Rouge were communists and they were all oppressive regimes which sacrificed personal freedoms for a perceived greater good. Oh and they all killed millions.
The natural extension of right wing politics is less government, less state intervention and more reliance on loose groupings of individuals working together on a voluntary basis. Indeed one of the greatest criticisms of the right is that it does not provide enough state support. People criticise the right for being proponents of more state intervention and less state intervention! How can that be?
Big, intrusive government and state control are the tools of left wing leaders. This assault on the very freedoms and civil liberties that thousands of British, Commonwealth and Allied soldiers died to defend is at least in keeping with the left wing roots of the Labour party that Blair claims to lead.
I hope that the Labour party has the guts and foresight to kick him out of Number 10 before he does any permanent damage.
It was from a young man probably about 7 years old and when given the chance to ask me a question he said "Where does life come from?"
Mr Paxman you have someone snapping at your heals he lives here in Lewisham and his name is Xavier.
In order to fix a problem you need to admit that the problem exists and Labour are refusing to admit that there is a problem. Patricia Hewitt is living in a fools paradise, it must be nice to live in a world where the unplanned and unexpected closure of wards and the redundancies of nurses makes for the "best year" in the NHS' history.
I dread to think what she expects the worst year to be like. I wonder if she knows something we don't, perhaps next year the NHS will be so short staffed, so lacking in beds, so awful in fact that we will all look back at this year as some sort of "Golden Age" for the NHS.
It seems that I am not the only one who feels this way. British commanders on the ground are asking for more troops.
What is most worrying is that news of the attacks on British troops, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, are being suppressed. Do you remember all the news reports about the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment battle in Al Amarah, where Private Baharry won his VC?
If the answer is no it is because there was very little reported of the 30 day battle. My worry is that the same may happen in Afghanistan and the British people will not know that there is a crisis in the Armed Forces as well as the NHS.
I've got some photos and I will send the information to the team at "I Love Lewisham". This is one of the better ideas that have come out Lewisham council and I will definitely be keeping it if I get elected.
If you see some gaffiti around the borough and need it shifted take a photo and send it off.
21 April, 2006
Poor old Chris, a few months living in Lewisham clearly hasn’t given him enough time to get to grips with local issues. So in stead of talking about things that actually affect the people of the borough he is claiming that a good Lib Dem result here in May will rock the Bush administration in the USA. Talk about having a big ego, believing that you are so important as a candidate that you can bring down foreign governments from an office on the South circular.
Perhaps Chris should listen to a Lib Dem with a bit more sense. Speaking on last night’s Question Time Vince Cable MP put these elections in perspective by saying:
“There is an election coming and it is actually for local councils it’s not about national leaders and the global environments for that matter it’s about local things.”
“What is sad is that national politics is detracting attention away from the basic question of who runs your local council.”
Chris, here is a word of advice from someone who actually knows Lewisham. Stop worrying about sending a message to George W Bush and spend a few years listening to the people of Lewisham before you have the cheek to put yourself forward as their Mayor again.
£7,700 for hair cuts in a month just goes to show what the Blair's attitude to money is. How much did the leader of the opposition's wife spend in the same period?
And who looked better?
The lesson here is that Conservatives cost you less and provide better results.
20 April, 2006
DC has already expressed his intention to get a micro wind generator and ideas like these are being welcomed by Greenpeace.
Clearly the police take the leading role in the detection of crime but there is plenty that the Mayor and council can do to help stop crime at source. “Designing out” means creating a local environment that deters crime and helps people feel safe and secure.
A zero tolerance of graffiti, abandoned cars and fly tipping will help to create the feeling that crime and antisocial behaviour is not accepted. Broken windows, empty houses and boarded up shops gives the opposite impression and I will ensure that the number of failed streetlights in the borough is dramatically cut, and that poorly lit areas get extra lighting.
I applaud the “I love Lewisham” campaign and will continue to push for even speedier responses to graffiti cleaning. I will expand the scheme to cover abandoned cars and acts of vandalism. While supporting the use of Community Support Officers I will continue to push for greater numbers of real police officers out on the beat interacting with their local communities and helping to prevent crime.
People often tell me that they feel threatened by the “gangs” of young people hanging around. I make a point of speaking to these “gangs” whenever I can and in the vast majority of cases they are good kids, if a little noisy. Treating these kids like criminals will actually help turn them into criminals.
What I propose is that by working with community groups, faith groups, charities and schools we find more activities for these kids and ensure that they stay out of trouble. This will allow us to focus on the much smaller number really badly behaved youngsters and turn them around.
The police, the Mayor, the council and the community working together can beat crime. Under the last Conservative government crime rates fell and we can do the same here in Lewisham.
SYMPTOMS OF BEING OVER 25
1. You leave clubs before the end to "beat the rush".
2. You get more excited about having a roast on a Sunday than going clubbing.
3. You stop dreaming of becoming a professional footballer and start dreaming of having a son who might instead.
4. Before throwing the local paper away, you look through the property section.
5. All of a sudden, Tony Blair is not 46, he's only 46.
6. Before going out anywhere, you ask what the parking is like.
7. Rather than throw a knackered pair of trainers out, you keep them because they'll be all right for the garden.
8. You buy your first ever T-shirt without anything written on it.
9. Instead of laughing at the innovations catalogue that falls out ofthe newspaper, you suddenly see both the benefit and money saving properties of a plastic winter cover for your garden bench and an electronic mole repellent for the lawn. Not to mention the plastic man for the car to deter would-be thieves.
10. You start to worry about your parents' health.
11. Sure, you have more disposable income, but everything you want to buy costs between £200 and £500.
12. You don't get funny looks when you buy a Disney video or a Wallace and Gromit bubble bath, as the sales assistant assumes they are for your child.
13. Pop music all starts to sound crap.
14. You opt for Pizza Express over Pizza Hut because they don't have any pictures on the menus and anyway, they do a really nice half-bottle of house white.
15. You always have enough milk in.
16. To compensate for the fact that you have little desire to go clubbing, you instead frequent really loud tapas restaurants and franchise pubs with wacky names in the mistaken belief that you have not turned into your parents.
17. While flicking through the TV channels, you happen upon C4's TimeTeam with Tony Robinson. You get drawn in.
18. The benefits of a pension scheme become clear.
19. You go out of your way to pick up a colour chart from B&Q.
20. You wish you had a shed.
21. You have a shed.
22. You actually find yourself saying "They don't make 'em like that anymore" and "I remember when there were only 3 TV channels" and "Of course, in my day...."
23. Radio 2 play more songs you know than Radio 1 - and Jimmy Young has some really interesting guests on.
24. Instead of tutting at old people who take ages to get off the bus, you tut at school children whose diction is poor.
25. When sitting outside a pub you become envious of their hanging baskets.
26. You make an effort to be in and out of the curry house by 11
27. You find yourself saying "is it cold in here or is it just me?"
I and thousands of other Conservative candidates in these elections are looking forward and using the success stories of Conservative run councils as a vision of what we could achieve in councils currently held by Labour and the Lib Dems.
Are all us Conservatives living in cloud cuckoo land? Are we all doomed to failure?
Well according to Gavin Davies in the Guardian we’re not. Despite already being the largest party in local government Gavin predicts our best days are ahead of us.
He highlights Goldman Sachs' analysis of a range of opinion polls that strips out the short term ups and downs and focuses on the long term trends. Apparently we were increasing in the polls by less than 1% per year since our low point in 1994 until December last year, when David Cameron took over. We are now 5% higher in the polls that the original trend line predicted.
So any of you out there who think that there is no point in voting Conservative at these elections, think again. We can get in here and we can make a difference.
If you are happy with the way Lewisham is run, great. If not vote Conservative on the 4th of May because we've got some very good ideas for the future, and the trend agrees with us.
19 April, 2006
Now that the finances are screwed and the NHS is in trouble it is the fault of the NHS management.
Show some backbone Tony and support the people whose hands you have tied for so long.
18 April, 2006
He was keen to catch up on the campaign in Lewisham and the plans for office. He is clearly passionate about making the Conservatives a credible force in the cities again.
We didn't get much chance to run through all of Labour's catalogue of errors but I did let him know about the pool closures and the lack of a new school.
His diary is packed so we couldn't get a visit sorted before the election but I will try to get him down to Lewisham at some point fairly soon.
I wonder how much interest Tony Blair has in Steve Bullock's campaign?
Cleaner: Conservative councils have the cleanest streets.
Safer: Conservative councils have helped to create environments with lower levels of crime, including lower levels of alcohol-related crime and vehicle crime.
Cheaper: Conservative councils charge lower council taxes thanLabour or Liberal Democrat councils.
I am glad that we are shouting about this because unlike Labour and the Lib Dems we have a very strong track record on green issues. While they have been talking about it we have been doing it.
Here are some examples where people voted blue and their councils went green:
Barnet Council’s recycling scheme has resulted in its recycling rate of household waste rising from 8 per cent to almost 30 per cent since 2002: more than three in four households now participate in the weekly ‘black box’ scheme.
Brentwood Borough Council’s kerbside collection scheme has increased the rate of recycling and composting to 30 per cent.
Bromley Council is pioneering a project to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel, which will be used to power the Council’s vehicles.
Enfield Council’s Environmental Crime Unit has clamped down on fly-tipping, graffiti and abandoned vehicles – which between 2003 and 2004 fell by 30 per cent.
Richmond Council’s recycling scheme of weekly kerbside collections has resulted in households recycling more than 25 per cent of the waste they produce. 20,000 tons a year of rubbish no longer go into landfill.
Shropshire Council has achieved a 25 per cent reduction in CO2 with a goal of 40 per cent by 2010 - double the Labour target.
Westminster City Council’s graffiti and fly-posting removal team clears over 200 sites a month.
If you vote blue in Lewisham on May 4th you will help to make a real difference to our current 11% recycling rate, one of the worst in London.
I knew that some kind of fight back would come from Labour and when it came I expected that it would be ferocious, what we actually have is pathetic.
The Dave the Chameleon line is totally counterproductive. Firstly the cartoon character is adorable, I am sure my boys will love the cartoon on the Labour web site, they can laugh at the chameleon, I can laugh at everything else.
Secondly the main thrust of their attack is that David Cameron has changed. Well done, most of the voters have noticed this already and they like it. It is kind of Labour to point it out anyone who missed it.
Come on Labour work harder at slagging us off, it always helps draw attention away from the mess that you have got the country in.
17 April, 2006
I remember when there were lists of job losses at the end of the news, rather like a depressing weather forecast. However unemployed has been in decline since the 1990s (under a Conservative government).
Well Labour have managed to reverse that decline. If a Conservative said that increases in the minimum wage, union pay demands and excessive taxation were damaging employment people would jeer and throw rotten tomatoes. However when the Guardian says it it is worth taking notice of.
It seems as though Labour's luck is starting to run out and their counterproductive policies are starting to hurt the very people who they are meant to help.
Might we see posters saying that Labour isn't working again?
Labour does best when it is able to say "Don't look too carefully at what we're doing just vote for us to keep ............ out". You can insert whatever electoral ogre you want in the gap.
For a very long time it was the Conservatives who were the in the missing bit of the statement above. It seems that we are no longer a nasty enough threat for Labour. When they say "vote for me or let the Tories back in" people seem to be saying "the Tories don't look to bad an option, mate".
So now the BNP are the threat of choice. "Vote for us" says Margaret Hodge or let the BNP in. This is a very unattractive means of galvanising your vote.
Both locally and nationally the Labour party have run out of positive things to say. Looking through the election literature here in Lewisham I am struck by how little the Labour candidates have to shout about. You would have thought that Labour would be able to run off a list of achievements as long as your arm, they can't.
I wouldn't be surprised if the same were true in Margaret Hodge's borough. So what do you do if you have nothing positive to say? Say something negative! Scare people into voting for you, hence the scare story about the BNP.
I subscribe to Linda Smith's assessment of this kind of story.
14 April, 2006
In a recent Blackheath ward leaflet the Lib Dems spoke about Lee, Forest Hill, Downham and Ladywell but seemed not to have got anything worth saying about Blackheath itself.
I have also been given a number of leaflets around the ward claiming that it is a two horse race. This was rather reminicent of the 2005 general election where my Lib Dem opponent claimed it was a two horse race between them and Labour even though they were (and still are) in third place.
Just in case you were thinking about taking those silly graphs seriously here is the Channel 4 fact checker's assessment of their mathematical skills.
Lib Dems mix and match results to tell winning story
4 April 2005
12-vote gap was actually 7,280 in 2001
"Just 12 votes to win!"Letter from Lib Dem prospective candidate for Islington South and Finsbury Bridget Fox, 31 March 2005
FactCheck has unearthed Liberal Democrat election material which gives a misleading picture of some candidates' chances at the forthcoming General Election. In former Culture Secretary Chris Smith's Islington South constituency, for example, the Lib Dems suggest their candidate is only a dozen votes away from ousting Labour."Just 12 votes to win!" enthuses a letter sent by Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Bridget Fox.
But a glance at the results in June 2001 tells a different story. In fact, Mr Smith held the seat with a majority of 7,280 ahead of the second-placed Lib Dem candidate.
Across London, local party activists in Wimbledon have added results from their own constituency with those from two neighbouring seats, to suggest they are best placed to take it from Labour. As FactCheck explains below, this gives a distorted view of the party's real position in Wimbledon. And in former Tory Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley's constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden Lib Dems use recent local election results to suggest they are second behind the Tories. In fact, they came third in 2001.
While the Liberal Democrats may have good reason to feel confident of putting in a strong performance at the General Election, few of the leaflets seen by FactCheck stand up to close scrutiny.
The Islington South mailshot qualifies the "12 votes to win" claim by saying, in smaller type, that it refers to 2004 local elections when "just 12 votes separated Bridget Fox's Liberal Democrats and Labour".
These results come from the 2004 elections to the Greater London Assembly, when Islington South was part of London's much larger North East constituency. The Lib Dems have added up the number of votes cast in those elections in the wards that make up the Islington South constituency, and used the result to judge the gap between the contenders at the General Election.
The Merton Liberal Democrats website states that "the only serious challenge to Labour in Wimbledon will come from the Liberal Democrats". A bold claim, given the Liberal Democrats managed to take only 13 per cent of the vote in 2001, coming a poor third to Labour on 45.7 per cent and the Conservatives on 36.6 per cent. The website has added that poor result to two much better results - in Kingston and Surbiton and Sutton and Cheam, both won by the Liberal Democrats - to generate an average. The Lib Dems could have chosen another neighbouring constituency, such as Mitcham and Morden, but that would have told a less rosy story - the party came last in Mitcham and Morden four years ago with just 10.1 per cent of the vote.
Hitchen and Harpenden
A Lib Dem leaflet delivered to residents of Peter Lilley's constituency, Hitchen and Harpenden, states that "it's a two horse race here!". To back up the claim, the leaflet carries a bar chart showing the Conservatives on 48 per cent, the Lib Dems on 32 per cent and Labour on 16 per cent. These percentages are based on the most recent local election results for the 18 wards which fall inside the geographical boundaries for the constituency - a simple sum of all the votes cast.
Compare these percentages with the last General Election. In 2001 the Conservatives won with 47.3 per cent, Labour had 32.5 per cent and the Lib Dems came third with 18 per cent of the vote. The 1997 election yielded similar statistics. Of the 18 wards the Liberal Democrats used to tell their story, they won just four.
And the rest
FactCheck was inundated with Lib Dem leaflets. Here's a selection of the others we received.
Basingstoke: The Lib Dems in Basingstoke compared the 2001 result with the most recent local elections to demonstrate a dramatic increase in their support. This disguises the fact that between 1997 and 2001 their share of the General Election vote went down from 17.0 per cent to 13.9 per cent.
Maidstone and Weald: The Lib Dems in Ann Widdecome's seat use the number of borough councillors in Maidstone and Weald to predict General Election progress, but in both 1997 and 2001 they ranked third in the voting, gaining just 22.4 and 19.9 per cent of the vote in respective years.
South Ribble: The Liberal Democrats in South Ribble cite the percentage difference between the votes the parties received in 1997 and 2001, hiding the fact that they only gained 15.5 per cent of the total vote in 2001.
Wembley Central: A party leaflet distributed in Wembley Central talks of the Lib Dems' by-election result in Brent East. But Wembley Central is in the Brent South constituency.
FactCheck also saw leaflets from North Dorset, Wells and Orpington. All three make claims which are true no matter which way you look at them.
Responding to FactCheck's findings, a Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said: "The Liberal Democrats in local areas will of course highlight statistics which demonstrate our growing strength in the locality as well as reflecting our much higher levels of support in opinion poll surveys and Labour's marked decline compared with the same period before the 2001 General Election."
She insisted that none of the statistics used were "wrong or invalid" and added that local parties had been advised to reference all statistics clearly.
Now it's your turn
Seen any other election leaflets with surprising statistics? FactCheck would love to see them as well. Please mail, post or fax your leaflets. You'll find our email and postal addresses in the Contact us section. The fax number is 020 7430 4607.
General Election Results 1997 (PDF), Parliament website
General Election Results 2001 (Excel), Electoral Commission
Keele University General Election Results by Constituency
Lib Dem Watch
Merton Liberal Democrats
South Ribble Liberal Democrats
13 April, 2006
Thankfully Labour have realised that their loose promises don't count for much and have written some safeguards into the bill. I am sure that the Conservatives will keep a very close eye on this bill as it goes through the house.
People involved in politics don’t spend every minute of their lives thinking about politics. It doesn’t seem to occur to her that they might just like the music.
Mr Brown is a London headteacher and has been instrumental in finding funders for Labour's academy scheme. I can't see how this can be anything other than very bad news for Labour.
The first is in the nooks and Corners section where the council’s mismanagement of Forest Hill pool and the fiasco of the roof repairs are laid bare. The second mention is my old sparing partner in Lewisham East Bridget Prentice.
She is currently the minister in charge of legal aid. In an effort to save money she ruled against legal aid for a Mr Main whose partner and daughter had been killed in a rail accident at a level crossing.
Mr Main advisors felt that Bridget’s intervention was unlawful and are seeking a judicial review, which will be funded by legal aid. Not only a harsh decision against Mr Main but a financially costly one.
12 April, 2006
Why was it not done?
Lewisham council has attempted to close Forest Hill pool in the past and it looks from this report as if they are trying again through the back door. The Mayor has said that he plans to refurbish and reopen the pool but I'll wait and see. This is the same Mayor who said "As long as I am mayor there will be a top class swimming facility in the centre of our borough" shortly before announcing the closure of that very same swimming facility.
Local income tax would shift the tax burden onto hard working families, and cost many Londoners almost £1,500 a year more. Liberal Democrat politicians in London's town halls already charge the highest council taxes and now their politicians in Westminster want soaring income taxes.
I don't know what the average Lib Dem does for a living but they must all be on big money if they think that we are not paying enough taxes already. Perhaps they have money to burn.
Private Eye reports in its latest issue that Ian Kirby, political editor of the News of the World (a challenging job, if ever there was one) was recently called in for an interview with Blair & Brown in an effort for them to demonstrate comradely unity. Kirby duly turned up at Number Ten and was heading for the room they were in when he heard David Hill, Blair's press spokesman say: "Okay, he's coming. Start talking now!" The door opened and, guess what, Kirby found the two talking warmly to each other as if they hadn't a care in the world. Bless.
Makes you proud doesn't it.
North Korea had nuclear technology and Iraq didn’t. Iraq got invaded and North Korea didn’t.
Having seen Iraq invaded and its tyrannical leader ousted it is hardly surprising that the Iranian leadership are trying to get the “ultimate deterrent”. It worries me deeply that they have chosen this route because I think that becoming a potentially nuclear threat will make it more likely that the west will “intervene”.
We are in no position to get involved in another conflict, yet we cannot sit back and watch an unstable regime become a nuclear weapons holder. In light of this government’s under spending on and over committing of the British Armed forces what do we do next?
Answers on a postcard please.
I have to say that I found it very easy indeed talking to Jon, it didn’t really feel like an interview at all. Jon is making to his mind up who to vote for and is using the interviews to help make up his mind.
I don’t know whether talking at us all at length will make his task easier or harder.
I will post a link to the interview when it comes out but in the meantime please, please, please visit Jon’s site and listen to his broadcasts.
11 April, 2006
I have just had a thought, if you also send your movies to me too I will put them up on this site, so that even if you don't make it onto national telly you can still be famous for 15 minutes (30 seconds actually).
Since being elected Ming has all but vanished. I know that some people have said that David Cameron's honeymoon period is over (four month is quite a long honeymoon, Susie and I got two weeks) but poor old Ming didn't even seem to make it to the wedding reception before people forgot about him.
I am sure they have better luck with their next leader.
10 April, 2006
The killings in Tiananmen Square are nothing like the poll tax riots, nothing like them at all and for the Mayor of London to say that they were is just unbelievable. I don’t know who should feel more insulted, the Met Police for being compared with the Chinese army who killed hundreds if not thousands of people or the Chinese democracy campaigners who are being compared with rioters who had the vote but chose not to use it.
Ken do us all a favour and don’t come back.
09 April, 2006
All these candidates who are trying to distance themselves from their party are fooling no one but themselves. If people give their support to Labour at a local level it will be seen as support for Tony Blair.
If people are not happy with Blair and his local representatives they should vote them out. This is how the democratic process works.
We have pockets of excellence but on average our schools’ performance GCSE is well below the national average with the worst perfoming school running at almost half of the national average. Our children are no less bright than any others so it is the local educational system which is failing, not the children.
On top of this underperformance far too many of our children are forced to go outside the borough because of a shortage of secondary school places and those lucky enough to get a place at all rarely get their first choice school. This means that some children have to travel miles to get to school and sometimes siblings are split and attend different schools.
My plan for improving the educational attainment of Lewisham’s children is simple, firstly I would give much more autonomy to head teachers and I would support them in their attempts to maintain discipline in their classes. Secondly I would dramatically increase the number of school places in the borough, I would do this by both increasing the number of schools and the number of places within the schools.
The council has secured a £180 million grant for school improvement which I applaud. I would ensure that this money is spent effectively, precisely targeted, fairly distributed and not wasted.
The priority of building would be for a new secondary school in the North West of the borough. Brockley, New Cross and Deptford have many young couples and the population growth in these parts of Lewisham means that the shortage of school places will only get worse. I will not stop there, a new school will help now but we will be in the same position again in ten year time if we do not plan for another new school now.
"Under my leadership, we’ll always strive to do the right thing. That means saving our energy to oppose the government when it’s wrong. Like on ID cards. Labour can’t decide what it’s for. They can’t control what it costs. They can’t explain why they’re making it compulsory. Labour’s plastic poll tax has no place in modern Britain. It’s an ugly monument to the waste, chaos and vanity of intrusive, over-mighty government. I promise you this….in office, we will pull it down."
07 April, 2006
I want the people of Lewisham to have a real input into the running of the borough. The current structure is open to abuse which is why I will ensure that residents and local councillors will have a much greater say in council decisions.
In addition to this I will hold a referendum on the continued existence of a directly elected executive Mayor for Lewisham. The referendum will be held alongside either the Mayor of London elections in 2008 or the European elections in 2009 at the latest.
I think that I can make the system work for the people of Lewisham, if you don’t agree you can vote me out of a job.
I want to say a big thank you to David Amess MP who was the guest speaker, I would also like to thank all the people who came to show their support and offer help during the campaign.
She had a quick look at the leaflet that I was delivering and asked my thoughts on.......
Not youth provision, not green issues, not crime......
Never, never assume anything.
06 April, 2006
There are a couple of lessons that military history teaches us. One is don’t invade Russia, the other is don’t invade Afghanistan.
The government is about to send our Airborne forces into the very dangerous southern Afghanistan with no close air support and very few transport helicopters. I am worried.
Labour are asking our forces to do more and more with less and less, our defence spending is 2.3% of GDP, the lowest since 1930. On its own that figure is not a problem but our forces are more heavily committed now than at any point since WW2.
You can have low spend and low commitments or higher spending and more commitments but defence on the cheap will end up with body bags. God I hope that I am wrong about this.
05 April, 2006
Talk about desperate to find a way of knocking efficient and cost effective Conservative councils.
Philip Hammond is the Ex Chairman of East Lewisham Conservative Association and is now the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. He said "A third of the basic state pension increase since 1997 has been ruthlessly taken back in local taxes under Labour. Gordon Brown's complex and degrading means-testing pension credit adds further insult to injury."
Thepressuree that is being put on older people has manifested itself in the extra demand for help from organisations like our local Age Concern. It is currently because it is running out of money due to increased demand, this is exactly the kind of organisation that my Social Enterprise Unit will be looking to support.
Investing in an organisation like this will actually save money in the long run because many of the services that Age Concern provide will have to be taken up by the council. On top of that many people will feel much more comfortable getting help from Age Concern rather than from local government.
The Lib Dems claim that they will scrap council tax, sounds great. They are rather less keen to tell you that they are still rather keen on local income tax. This would mean that a nurse and a teacher both on average salaries for their professions would be between £500-£700 a year worse off here in Lewisham. Hands up who thinks that teachers and nurses don’t pay enough tax already.
Labour are trying to pursued you that you will pay less council tax under them too. They are using a bit of creative accountancy - using 'average council tax per dwelling'. Labour councils tend to have lower property values and therefore have more houses in lower council tax bands the average amount of tax is lower. Independent commentators, such as Professor Tony Travers and Radio 4’s John Humphries have said the only accurate way to compare councils is to contrast similar council tax band bills and funnily enough Conservative councils do much better when comparing like for like.
Despite Labour's fiddled funding, Conservative councils still cost you less and deliver better public services. In 2006-07, Conservative councils charge £81 a year less on Band D bills than Labour councils and £88 a year less than Liberal Democrat councils.
02 April, 2006
The Conservatives came second in the Mayoral election in 2002 and I am confident that we can improve our position this time and bring about a positive change, a real step forward for Lewisham.
As you will be able to see from this site, I was born and brought up in Lewisham and I care deeply about making Lewisham a great place to live, work and learn. We have so much going for us here, a diverse and vibrant population, excellent transport links, great parks and open spaces and a number of traditional shopping areas.
Yet there are some things which could and should be improved. Crime rates are still too high, too few parents get their first choice of school, leisure provision is not good enough and recycling levels are far too low.
Despite these few negative points there are far more things that make Lewisham great than bring Lewisham down. What we need to do is fix the few things that let the borough down and turn Lewisham into the best borough in London. It can be done and this should be the aspiration of the Mayor of Lewisham, anything less is selling Lewisham short.
I want this improvement to be community led, the people of Lewisham working hand in hand with the Mayor and councillors to make everyone’s lives better.
Many of you reading this will not have voted Conservative in the past but please remember Labour have had decades to improve Lewisham and have failed to do so, I and the Conservatives have the best chance of beating Tony Blair’s local representatives and changing the way Lewisham is governed.
If you want true community driven local government, if you want efficient administration with less waste, if you want a fresh approach to the relationship between the council and the people of Lewisham, if you genuinely want to see a step forward for Lewisham vote for me on the 4th of May.
Conservative Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham
Speaking recently Tom said
“Obviously as someone who works in the field of education one of my key priorities as a local campaigner is that we give children the best possible start in life. Achieving that isn't just abut making sure they have a great school but also about ensuring that the streets are safe for them to use, that the local environment is preserved and protected and that there are adequate facilities to keep our younger local residents occupied. These are just some of the things I’ll be focussing on as one of Catford’s Conservative Campaigners”
The doctor claimed that Lewisham was discouraging blood test to artificially bring down their MRSA rates. Claire has looked into this and has provided a very complete answer. I have to say she clearly took the issue seriously and has provided me with a very reasonable explanation.
She confirms that doctors are told not to take "unnecessary" blood test by the Infection Control Team but she goes on to explain that a number of international research papers indicate that only 1% of A&E blood samples are necessary. I haven't had a chance to read the reference papers so I will have to assume she is right on this issue.
She said "I can assure you that there is absolutely no question of staff being encouraged not to take blood samples where they are appropriate". I believe her.
She goes on to make a very strong point, "I am sure that you are aware that this Trust has been a pioneer in screening for MRSA; a practice that has now been taken up nationally. In the past this has meant that we have often been unfairly stigmatised because of our honesty, but we value the integrity of our statistics and would never indulge in the sort of dubious practice that your anonymous correspondent suggests".
I am glad that Claire took the time to bring me up to speed on this issue and has brought the MRSA rates down. Now if she can find a way not to close the wards at Lewisham Hospital too she would get a permanent place on my Christmas card list.
At the moment the council has given no date for the pool to re-open and no commitment to bring forward the start of the refurbishment work. By announcing the closure of Ladywell the Mayor has placed even more pressure of the other pools in the borough, Downham is closed, Forest Hill is closed, Ladywell is due for closure and Wavelegths in Deptford is undersized. Does Steve want us all to drown?
It is essential the Ladywell is kept open until the other pools in the borough (including the proposed “New pool” in Lewisham town centre) are up and running.
I want to see a dramatic improvement in Lewisham’s recycling levels. I don’t claim to have all the answers but other Conservative councils in London have turned their recycling rates around and by using their experience and listening to their advice we can do the same here in Lewisham.
We need making recycling easier than not recycling. I will ensure a green wheeley-recycling bin for every household rather than the little boxes that many currently have.
The refuse collection teams can provide help and advice on recycling were needed and this advice can be targeted to poorest performing households. We won’t need fines and penalties just encouragement and a helping hand where necessary.
Turning Lewisham Green will not be done overnight and can only be achieved if everyone works together, but with the right attitude and some community spirit it can be done.
The Ladywell Campaign team were videoing the event and a copy will be available on their site soon.
The full range of Mayoral candidates was there with the exception of one of the Independent candidates Sinna Mani (Ex Labour, ex Green) who had a friend stand in for him.
It is always difficult to be impartial when remembering how these things went but I don’t think that things went too badly at all. I didn’t get too hard a time, that was reserved for the Mayor.
None of the other candidates came up with anything particularly innovative with regard to policy, indeed the most compelling thing that the the Lib Dem candidate said was that Lewisham should be more like Conservative controlled Bromley council, very non-partisan of him. Well he should know how good Bromley is he lived there until a few months ago.
01 April, 2006
I will report back later.