Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Zero Tolerance

Zero tolerance used to apply to yobs, vandals and petty criminals, however some Councils are now applying it to those most desperate of hardened criminals, those despicable people who leave wheelie bins on the pavement too early, put the wrong items in a recycling container or over-fill the bin so the lid doesn't sit flat.

However, unless you "come clean" and admit it was you then proving who is responsible for “illegal” rubbish is turning into a legal minefield. Plymouth City Council recently spent over £6,000 in a failed attempt to prosecute a woman for putting the wrong items in her recycling bin. In Court it was argued that the Council couldn't prove beyond reasonable doubt that the woman was personally responsible.

If you put out your bin and someone adds extra items into it while it is stood by the roadside then is that your fault? "The lid was down when I put it out Governor!" would seem to be an acceptable defence in Court. Of course once we are all under 24 hour CCTV Surveillance then the tapes will show just how full your bin was.

Plymouth Council now want every household to nominate a “bin manager” to agree to monitor their rubbish and be responsible for ensuring all regulations are complied with. The legal advice is not to sign anything! The Council would be able to use a signed agreement in Court to claim the Bin Manager had accepted responsibility. If you refuse to sign the Council still has the legal responsibility to collect your rubbish, after all you pay your Council Tax don't you?

War zone

Taking a walk along the Spion Cop this week I came across a small group in high visibility jackets with cameras and other equipment examining the piles of broken concrete that litter the landscape.

The single storage tank and the chimney were getting especial attention. Never being one to be backwards in going forward I approached them and asked what they were up to. It turned out they were a group of independent film makers scouting locations for a film about survivors of a future war living in the rubble of our civilisation.

Their website doesn't give much away yet but maybe Hartlepool will be getting its own block buster? Anyway I was promised an invite to the premier and you know us Councilors, we'd go to the opening of an envelope, especially if we get our photos in the paper and there is a good buffet!

www.actifproductions.co.uk

Goodbye from me - The End of an Era


A period of my life spanning over 35 years has finally come to an end. The picture above shows me leaving 7 Beaconsfield Square for the last time.

I first moved to number 7 with my parents when I was 12 (back in 1972). I left in 1979 to go to University in London but returned to Beaconsfield Square in 1986 and set up as a self employed business advisor working from the top floor of the house. No matter where in the UK a contract took me, including twelve years working with PERA in Melton Mowbray and contracts in Wales, The South West and of course London, I kept 7 Beaconsfield Square as my permanent registered business address. In addition I kept my old bedroom, also on the top floor, as a part time residential base. During several ups and downs the old place provided me with a safe haven on more than one occasion.

However, the “For Sale” Notice has gone up and so it’s goodbye from me to 7 Beaconsfield Square. There is no doubt I will miss the old place.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Meeting of the Hartlepool Branch of U.K.I.P.

Dear UKIP Member/Supporter,

I am sure that you were delighted with our success in the recent local elections. The election of Martyn Aiken, our second councillor, and the excellent results in other wards was the culmination of several months of hard work. All our candidates deserve a big thank you. What we have proved here in Hartlepool is that with organisation and hard work U.K.I.P. can succeed. Would all members and supporters please consider ways in which they can help the branch achieve further success. All offers of help will be gratefully received .

The next meeting of the Hartlepool Branch of U.K.I.P. will take place on Wednesday June 18th. in the Travellers Rest, Stockton Road, starting at 7.30 pm. The meeting will last about an hour and will be followed by a General Knowledge Quiz . Please try to attend.

Yours sincerely,
Eric Wilson.
Branch Chairman.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Friday, 23 May 2008

hmmmmm

What's brown and makes a mess of everything?
The Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown has been very bad this year so Santa is bringing him a lump of coal. Ironically the last thing he needs is more northern rock.

The 7 dwarves are in a cave when it suddenly collapses. Snow White is worried for their lives,until she hears a voice from inside the cave saying "I think Gordon Brown is a great prime minister". She says,"thank heavens,at least Dopey's all right!"

An Old priest lay dying in hospital. For years, he had faithfully served the people of London. He motioned for his nurse to come near. "Yes, Father?" she said. "I would really like to see Tony Blair and Gordon Brown before I die," whispered the Priest. "I'll see what I can do, Father," said the nurse. The nurse sent the request to the House of Commons and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived that Tony and Gordon would be delighted to meet the priest.
As they went to the hospital, Gordon commented to Tony: "I don't know why the old priest would want to meet us, but it certainly might help our images and even get me elected for Prime Minister for another term. Tony agreed that it was a very good especially if they got press coverage. When they arrived at the hospital bed the old priest took Gordan's hand in his right hand and Tony's Hand in his left. There was a silence and the look of serenity on the priest face.
Finally Gordon spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen why choose us to be with you as you near the end?" The Old preist replied slowly: "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." "Amen" said Gordon. "Amen" said Tony. The old priest continued: "He died between two lying, cheating, criminal bastards. I would like to do the same."

Tony Blair was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked the Prime Minister if he would like to lead the discussion on the word "tragedy". So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a "tragedy". One little boy stood up and offered: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field & a tractor runs over him and kills him, that would be a 'tragedy'". "No," said Blair, "that would be an accident." A little girl raised her hand: "If a school bus carrying fifty children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy." "I'm afraid not," explained the Prime Minister, "that's what we would call a great loss." The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Tony searched the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of tragedy?" Finally, at the back of the room, a small boy raised his hand...In a quiet voice he said: "If the air plane carrying you and Mrs Blair was struck by a "friendly fire" missile & blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy." "Fantastic!" exclaimed Tony Blair. "That's right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?" "Well," says the boy "it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be a ****ing accident either!

Like an 'invisible hand'

Europe's power is easy to miss. Like an 'invisible hand', it operates through the shell of traditional political structures. The British House of Commons, British law courts, and British civil servants are still here, but they have all become agents of the European Union implementing European law. This is no accident. By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions, Europe can take over countries without necessarily becoming a target for hostility. Europe's invisibility allows it to spread its influence without provocation.” Pro-euro author Mark Leonard

The quotation above might sound like something out of a conspiracy theory. But Mark Leonard, a passionate advocate of deeper integration, makes an astute observation. The EU now has powerful influence on our everyday lives. But as a result of the way EU legislation operates, it is often not clear to either voters or even journalists when a particular decision or policy originates in the EU.

Domestic legislation often is actually a “shell” for the purpose of implementing European law. Leonard is indeed right to argue that “Europe’s power is easy to miss”. And often, even if EU legislation has not wholly determined a particular decision, EU law has had important influence on policy-makers and officials.

Take the Lisbon Treaty. By far the most common question asked is:“how will this affect our daily lives?”

The answer is that the Lisbon Treaty reduces Britain’s ability to block legislation. It would allow the EU to pass more measures which affect people’s everyday lives.

The end of the veto over energy would let the EU pass its Oil Stocks Directive, which would cost a household of four £130 per year. It would be harder for the UK to block rules affecting what rights people have at work, or stop the Health Services Directive, which will affect how the NHS Budget is spent. It would mean, as the Government admits, that many more asylum cases will be decided by the European Court of Justice, rather than in Britain.

In other words, it will massively affect people’s daily lives. The Westminster consensus that people don’t care about the EU is wrong. The truth is that the EU’s critics and the media have failed to explain just how much power the EU really has.

www.openeurope.org.uk

The EU and You
How the EU affects everyday life in the UK

All together at the feed trough tonight

Annual Council tonight and the filibuster unfortunately couldn’t take place after one of my partners in crime lost his bottle at the last moment and pulled out. However, three other Councillors asked why we hadn’t done it and then said they would have helped if they had known earlier. Looks like next year might be a possible if they all hold their nerve. Of course by next May we might have a new Mayor! Who knows how the electorate will jump!

The Head Master (Leader of the Tories) has a quiet laugh about my Lord Snooty Skit but Matron WAS NOT AMUSED. If looks could kill then Comrade Lilley (G) would have been in his box tonight. I said hello to Lord Snooty but he can’t have seen me as he didn’t return my greeting. Of course as a snub it only works if it is someone of higher status acting to put down a perceived inferior. As the people who ignore me are in no way my superiors it just makes me think they are just small minded and petty. Several Labour Councillors for example always speak to me, they don’t have to agree with me nor do they even have to like me, but common courtesy costs nothing. There are several people I know who are so totally incensed by the fact that I am a Councillor and so eaten up inside by it that they just cannot bring themselves to even acknowledge my presence. This includes several current Councillors and of course an extremely bitter former St.Hilda Councillor who won’t even acknowledge me when I am inches away from him. Mind you neither does the Lib-Dim Leader! He never has acknowledged me in any way and I suppose UKIP coming within 2 votes of removing him from his seat will not have softened his feelings towards me.

Back to the coal face for me in the morning but considerably buoyed up by the knowledge that judging by the looks on several faces in the Council last night my continued presence is definitely causing some acid indigestion. I just find it terribly amusing that some people feel so strongly about it all. After all it’s just politics, no-one actually dies in Hartlepool Council Chamber, well not yet anyway, although I’m sure if the power of thought could actually kill I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes.

It’s just a shame the public couldn’t see the Hartlepool Yellow Labour, New Labour and Blue Labour Councillors all together at the feed trough tonight, the Lib/Lab/Con continues in Hartlepool!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Not so good!


The remedial works on the Block Sands paddling pool have also now been started. The railings needed to be moved and a couple of benches taken out to give the Port Authority enough space to get vehicles onto the Heugh when they were carrying out work on the breakwater (Not sure when this was or will be?). Unfortunately the reinstatement has so far been carried out with black tarmac and the work has ruined the blue finish on the area. I am assured by the engineers that this is actually only temporary and the blue finish will be restored shortly. However the whole surface in that area is badly scarred that really the entire area needs to be resurfaced. I blame the local Councilors! Well why not, everyone else does!

PS. Doing a bit of research about tarmac costs and road repairs (How sad is that on a Sunday lunchtime!) and maybe the Block Sands Pool Area isn't that bad! The Highways Agency has just OK'd a project where the costs will be £1,000 per INCH. OK, so it's a 51 mile stretch of the M6, but £56 Million a Mile! Where do they get their budgets from? Oh yes, its us poor taxpayers isn't it!

Spot the Grot


Titan House may still be an ugly building once the conversion work is done but the work on the Old Chapel on the Headland can't fail but to be a massive improvement. I was looking at it yesterday and was pleased to see how the work is now actually progressing. It has been a hard slog for the developer but all power to Mr O'Conner he has persevered and managed to get past the "Conservation" issues around the work. I sometimes think some people would rather see a building fall down than have it brought back into use but altered in any way from its original design. Conservation in my opinion is not just about keeping things unchanged. I look forward to a cup of tea in the cafe when it opens, hopefully soon.

Question: What travels faster than light?

The answer is of course a rumour! Nothing material can exceed the speed of light as it will reach infinite mass as it approaches the speed of light so the energy to push past the light barrier then also becomes infinite. Well that's how I understand Einstein but of course the Trekies out there will point to Warp Speed and say that's how its done.

So what rumour am I talking about? As Oscar Wilde once said "The only thing worse than being talked about. Is NOT being talked about". Apparently I have had a major falling out with the candidate Mike Nattrass and left the Crewe and Nantwich by-election team in high dudgeon! Of course nothing could be father from the truth. I was at Crewe during the set up stages to provide cover in the office and advise on the mechanics of the operation (Election Address Production, Postal Voter Letters, Leaflet delivery systems, etc). It was always intended that the local branch and the North West Regional Organiser would be running the campaign. I also offered my comments on the Election Literature, but as it isn't "my" campaign I didn't do any more than that. For my taste its a bit heavy on the EU and not enough on local issues. However, the majority input into the campaign literature was Mike and Nikki. Provided wasn't illegal, libelous or totally contradicts UKIP Policy then I did not see it as my job at Crewe to write campaign material.

This is the second thread on the board about my "behaviour" at Crewe. Apparently I ripped off a letter from Greg Beaman and used it shamelessly promote myself ahead of the MEP Selection Process. Once again the truth was a little less dramatic. Greg sent the letter to the North West Members and I asked him for a copy to send round the rest of the members via the e-mail list. The list is controlled from Head Office so I sent the letter to them and they sent it out. As I asked them to send it it automatically went under my name. Simple!

Of course these facts don't prevent other speculation! Ah the wonders of politics. If some people only spent half the time out on the street campaigning as they do on line! Of course posting this on a Sunday afternoon begs the question "Why aren't I in Crewe?"

What do we want? More Flats? When do we want them? NEVER!

According to the Hartlepool Mail tonight (Saturday 17th May) another of the town's "Grots" will soon be a thing of the past. Titan House, that stunning example of modern architecture at its very worst, is going to be converted into flats and bedsits (Sorry, Hartlepool developers don't do flats and bedsits, they do Apartments and Studios).

Google "Hartlepool Flats for rent" and you get over 500,000 hits. The sites that come up include 7 agencies offering flats to rent in Hartlepool and management services for landlords. Go down the brick canyons of the Marina and count the "To Let" signs. It doesn't take long to get into double figures. Who in their right mind would want to pay a six figure sum for a bed sit on York Road? Possibly the same people paying similar figures for a tiny rabbit hutch in the old Co-op Stores building? At least the Co-op has the benefit of some architectural merit and off-road car parking.

Hartlepool is not short of flats and bedsits. It is short of affordable homes and houses for rent. The shortage of course mainly caused by the mass demolition of streets and street of perfectly sound houses that for a fraction of their demolition costs could have been brought up to modern standards.

I am glad Titan House is getting money spent on it. However, converting it to flats will not cure the basic problem that it is an UGLY Building. Spend £1,000,000 on the interior but unless a similar amount is spent on the facade it will still, from the outside, look like the kindest thing that could happen to it would be to knock it down.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Closures, reduced service and privatisation. The Royal Mail is a dead man walking

What a Surprise! The “Consultation” has failed to save the majority of the Post Offices originally scheduled for closure. There was never any real doubt that this would be the result of the consultation since the decision to destroy the Royal Mail was taken in Brussels years ago but is just now coming to the attention of the British public.

Not wanting to say “I told you so” but the Post Office as we know it is a dead man walking. The EU anti-competition directives that have allowed German firms like DHL to cream off profitable bits of the service mean that the Royal Mail in this country is on borrowed time.

The next step in the destruction of the Royal Mail will be “partial privatisation”. This would probably be fiercely opposed by the Communication Workers Union and possibly even by some within the (Old) Labour party. Although let’s face it New Labour has really meant New Tories for quite a while so privatisation will be a way to make lots of money for their friends in the City and to compensate for New Labour not being able to sell them seats in the House of Lords quite so easily any more.

Postcomm's chief executive has already told a committee of MPs that she could not rule out axing the Saturday post but then denied a report in The Daily Telegraph saying exactly that, claiming the story had "no substance whatsoever". Unfortunately the Freedom of Information Act enabled the public to learn the regulator had paid a consultancy firm to investigate how much money could be saved by halting the Saturday post and reducing the targets for next day delivery of first class letters.

Successive UK Governments, of all political colours, have failed to protect UK national interests on a huge range of issues, all in the name of being “Good Europeans”. Post Offices are joining the sacrifice of fishing, steel making, car manufacturing, etc, etc on the altar of the European Union Project.

UKIP is constantly criticised for being fixated on the European Union at the expense of domestic policies. However, when the EU take 80% (and increasing) of the decisions that effect every day life in the UK then I would say those who ignore the EU are the ones who need to wake up before it's too late.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Happy Birthday Mummy


Happy Birthday to my mum. I won't mention her age as that's not the done thing for ladies but she is definitely eligable for her free bus pass.

The Politically Correct Lord’s Prayer

Our Father (or Mother, Step Father, Step Mother, Carer or Guardian)

who art in the non-denominational resting place,

Inclusive be thy name.

Thy persondom come, thy will be done,

on earth as it is in the non-denominational resting place.

Give us this day our daily burger and coke.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we are forced to forgive those who trespass against us by illegally camping on land and refusing to move.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from those who are not politically correct.

For thine is the persondom, the power of thought control and the glory of human rights,

For ever and ever.

Awomen



With thanks to the Campaign Against Political Correctness

http://www.capc.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Tory boy attends first planning meeting and makes a new friend

Reading back some recent entries I though this blog was getting a bit to serious, bordering on the up tight even. So with apologies to the Beano, Billy Bunter, Jennings and even the Famous Five (or the Cabinet as we know them!) I offer this slightly tongue in cheek (though accurate are regards how he voted!) version of Conservative Councillor McKenna's first planning meeting.

He came into the Planning Committee peering round nervously. His mother had made sure he was immaculate in his nice suite and tie, with brilliantly polished shoes. However, he was still the new boy and he hoped no one would pick on him. Lord Snooty McKenna spotted Head Master Morris but he was deep in Conversation with Rob Cook the Chair of School Governors. No help there!

Luckily for Lord Snooty, even though he is a Tory Boy, he was taken under the wing of the Labour Party Form Captain, Ginger Brash. Brashy saw how confused and uncertain the new boy was but after just a few minutes the two became fast friends. After all they had so much in common. They are both young, ambitious coves who hope for great things for themselves. Lord Snooty is of course chinless (being a Tory) which is not something you could say about Ginger (I mean you couldn't say he is chinless! Listen to the Form Captain speaking sometimes and you could however quite easily mistake him for a Tory). Ginger Brash was pleased to discover Lord Snooty was actually a year older than him, which allowed Ginger to hold onto the "Youngest Councillor" title for a little bit longer. Lord Snooty was pleased too, since as he wasn't the youngest Councillor maybe he wouldn't have to fag for any of the bigger boys after all.

Lord Snooty almost jumped out of his seat when the Terror of the Remove, Wild Man Lilley, creaked into the room. He really does need to oil those leather trousers! I suggest he goes to see Matron Laffey; After all Matron Knows best and she might have something he could rub in to deal with stiffness?

"Greetings Comrades! Up the Workers" boomed Lilley. "Right up Em Comrade" came the lone response from me.

Ginger and Lord Snooty were meanwhile getting on famously. The Form Captain was explaining there is no whip in planning but all Lord Snooty had to do was put his hand up when the Labour Councillors put theirs up and he wouldn't go far wrong. Lord Snooty got the hang of it straight away, despite his Tory background he voted with the Labour Form Captain every time. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise, after all it's thanks to the Conservatives and Lib-Dems that the Labour Group remains in power despite loosing over all majority on the Council.

Lord Snooty looked a bit lost when the Form Captain had to leave the meeting before it ended. When the vote came he was looking round desperately for someone to give him a lead. I was going to whisper to him "Just Vote against me" since that seems to be a rule of thumb most Planning Committee Members apply in times of uncertainty. Simmons of the Labour Upper Sixth however stepped into the breach to provide guidance and assistance to the new bod and make sure he didn't vote the wrong way.

After the meeting finished, with a possible record of only three deferred decisions out of ten, it was probably all down to the member's room for lashings of ginger beer and a good ferret through the new boy's Tuck Box. Pip Pip

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Home again

Here I sit at my own PC in my own little office, next to my own little bedroom in the top floor of my parent's house in Hartlepool. Home is the sailor, home from the sea, or more accurately home from Crewe and Nantwich! Back to reality! Planning Committee in the morning, possibly my last if I get thrown off following the Lib/Lab/Con stitch up of the Council Committee Seats. Ah well, no-one said saving the world was going to be easy!

The Crewe Blog

An on-line poll is running on "Crewe's Premier Political Blog". That might actually be Crewe's ONLY Political Blog but apparently the National Press are reading it so it's having its time in the spotlight.

The poll puts UKIP in 6th place so we need some votes to push us ahead of the beauty queen!

http://www.crewe.tv

Newsnight Live from Crewe

BBC Newsnight is coming to Crewe & Nantwich to host a special edition broadcast live on Tuesday 20th May. The Newsnight team want to hear from Crewe & Nantwich voters across the political spectrum on the issues that matter to them, from tax to immigration, the cost of living to crime and the campaign itself.

Places are limited, for more details email Natasha.Mardikar@bbc.co.uk or call 0208-624-8200 and leave a message with contact details so that the bbc can call you back.

Credit or Debit Card

A UKIP Volunteer for the by-election travelled fron Norfolk to Crewe to help out. He decided to break his journey at a Travel in order to get some sleep, to arrive bright and early and fresh the next morning. All went well until he arrived at the Travellodge and booked in.

"Are you paying by Credit or Debit Card Sir?" asked the receptionist.

"Neither" replied out UKIPer "Cash!"

The Receptionist then apologised "I'm terribly sorry Sir, we don't take Cash"

Our UKIP Volunteer ended up sleeping in his car since he doesn't possess a Credit or Debit Card and surprisingly enough he wasn't carrying his passport for the journey from Norfolk to Crewe. Apparently the Travelodge has a policy not to take cash unless you have photo ID as well. This is to prevent people paying cash, trashing the room and leaving, or even worse paying for the room and only using it for an hour? I have no idea why you would want a room for just an hour?

Of course when we are all carrying our compulsory ID Cards this problem won't arise!

Dry in Crewe

Campaigning is hard thirsty work. Last night I was sat in the bar at the Crewe Arms Hotel with John Bufton and Derek Clark MEP. We were just getting into our stride when a thunderous crash of shutters coming down disturbed the convivial atmosphere. Checking my watch I realised it was 11.00pm and so the public Bar was shut! I asked at reception if there was a resident's bar and was told the Night Porter had a selection of bottled beers bit there was no bar open after11.00pm. The night porter's selection started at £3 for a small bottle of Budwisser!

That was how John and I ended walking the streets of Crewe in the early hours of Tuesday forlornly looking for somewhere to get a drink. According to a local student the only place to get a drink after 11.00pm is at the all night off-licence at TESCO.

Thank goodness Clive Page isn't here! I can't even imagine how he would react to being told no drink after 11.00pm!

Public Meeting in Crewe

Bob Spink MP (standing at lecturn on left) speaking at the Public meeting in Crewe last night in support of Mike Nattrass (seated on right).

There was standing room only at the meeting in the Crewe Arms. About 80 people squeezed into the Gladstone Room to hear Mike Nattrass and Bob Spink talk about the effects of the EU on the people of Crewe and Nantwich and explain how only a vote for UKIP was a vote to get our county back.

Bob is one of the hardest working MPs and was praised by the late MP Gwyneth Dunwoody, with whom he had agreed on many topics, and a minute's silence was observed in her memory. He said that if Britain was not in the EU it would have billions to spend which could be used locally on services. Outlining UKIP’s raft of polices Bob, who travelled up from Westminster to attend the meeting, said these included a flat tax, which would remove 4.5 million people from taxation altogether, bringing back hospital matrons, more bobbies on the beat and the repeal of the Human Rights Act.

Mike Natrass Mike told the audience: "The other three parties are in denial." He said, "Any debate mentioning immigration and they don't tell the electorate that because of the EU people from 26 countries are able to freely come here." Crewe has many Polish immigrants. Mike said he liked Poles. He said: "But we don't need millions of them. Poland is being stripped and is having to import people from the Ukraine and China. We cannot plan our economy because we don't know how many are coming over the border and the EU is constantly expanding."

Mike thanked Bob for making the journey to Crewe and the formal meeting finished about 9.00pm but of course it continued in the hotel bar until much later.

Monday, 12 May 2008

topless in Crewe

Lovely sunny day in Crewe, lots of topless people walking past the office, all male unfortunately! The leaflet teams are out and the map of the constituency is starting to fill in nicely with yellow highlighter. Not to say this indicated Lib-Dem support, not in the least, it's just how we keep track of where our leaflet teams have been. Last week it was a little depressing as it had isolated spots of yellow here and there but its starting to look quite jaundiced now.

From Tuesday a campaign newspaper will also be going out and we will start with a green highlighter, of course where we have already delivered the introduction pack we might get green and yellow looking more like Blue! I must find somewhere that does purple highlighter to ensure UKIP colours are represented somewhere.

Had several people in the office yesterday after posters for their garden. The local UKIP'ers have said the have never seen so FEW Labour posters in any election before. There are also reportedly more Tory Posters but not a high number. It might very well be that the Labour vote stays at home rather than goes Tory. We did get a brief mention in the Sunday papers when a lady being interviewed admitted she was a life long Labour supporter but would never vote for them again, she was thinking about voting UKIP! The majority of visitors to the office were actually Labour voters who had finally seen the light.

Bob Spink is due in the constituency tonight and hopefully we will have a good turn out at out meeting in the Crewe Arms Hotel. 7.30pm kick off! Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

makin' my mind up time!

Friday May 16th 2008 will be an important day for me. Firstly it is my mother's birthday, so "Happy Birthday Mummy!" and secondly it is the closing date for applications to be on the UKIP MEP Lists for the 2009 Euro-elections. The UK is divided into twelve Euro Regions. Each region has between three and ten MEPs. Interestingly residents of Gibraltar vote in the UK South West region. In total there are 72 UK MEP's (reduced from 78 in 2004 since the number of MEP's is fixed so when new countries join the EU each existing country gives up some MEP seats).

So the question to ask myself is "Do I want to be an MEP?" If I had been asked 4 years ago tye answer would probably have been NO. However, circumstances change. Four years ago my children were at school and it was important to try and give them some stability. Now they are both older and could cope better with an absent father. Well apart from when Dad's Taxi was required of course! Also four years ago I was basically a political virgin. I had no idea how much influence the EU had over our daily lives and how rapidly that influence was growing. It is only while being a local councillor that i have seen the insidious way the EU is destroying our national identity and way of life.

I love Europe. After seeing how much happier (and healthier) my parents are no they spend several months a year in Spain I even harbour ambitions to retire to the sun myself one day. However, I loath the European Union and all it stands for. So maybe the answer to my question is YES I do want to be an MEP! The next question then of course is which Regional List do I go for? North East? Yorkshire? What about the East Midlands, they elected Kilroy after all and as a graduate of Loughborough University I do have educational links to the region, also I worked for 12 years for PERA which was based in Melton Mowbray, right in the middle of the Region. Think I might have to phone Derek Clark MEP!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Sad and Desperate

Sad and Desperate, not the UKIP Campaign here in Crewe but the antics of the Labour Party who are facing the prospect of a formerly safe Labour seat slipping out of their hands. The Labour campaign appears to be built on two main planks. Firstly the Candidate is the daughter of the former MP and secondly that the Tory Candidate is a "Toff"

So Sad that they are still fighting the Class War in Crewe and desperate that they think they need the personal vote of the "Dunwoody Brand" to save the seat.

However, the late MP was held in such high esteem by her constituents because she spoke her mind and wasn't afraid to be unpopular with the Labour Leadership. I'm not sure if Tamsin is in quite the same mould as her mother. Tamsin comes into the campaign after loosing her (Labour) seat on the Welsh Assembly and so the campaign in Crewe is really a last attempt to save a faltering political career. During her 4 years on the Welsh Assembly Tamsin proved herself to be a true Nu Labour Clone and she has a record of defending unpopular Labour Policies, not attacking them. The local links to Crewe are also tenuous to say the least. In her campaign to win a Welsh Assembly seat in 2003 she made much of her "local links" to Cardiff claiming she was someone who lives in the community, works in the community and whose children go to school in the community. Thereby giving her a very real belief in a strong voice in Cardiff for Pembrokeshire.

As regards the sad, class warriors in the Labour Party. They seem to think it's a wizard wheeze to follow the Tory Candidate round the constituency with Labour Activists dressed as though they are on their way to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. Now coming from Hartlepool I appreciate that many old labour activists are still steeped in the politics of envy and class hatred but I had hoped that the country as a whole was growing out of that. Of course look at the number of Labour MP's with private educations and the even larger number who are sending their own children to independent schools and you realise the Nu Labour Leadership can't really allow the classs war angle to go to far as they themselves are pretty vulnerable. However, when has being a hypocrite ever troubled a politician?

Friday, 9 May 2008

"real” local politics

The situation regarding Chairs and Committee places at Hartlepool Borough Council is an interesting example of “real” local politics in this country. Labour, Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats are now so close together in almost all major policy areas that it doesn’t really matter which party you vote for. All three are taking their major policy direction from the European Union which now dictates 80% of all new laws introduced into the UK.

The Lib/Lab/Con is also united in their determination to hold onto the cosy club they have developed in Town Halls up and down the country. The lib/lab/con club operating in Hartlepool exists to make it very difficult for Independents or even worse any other political party, from getting any significant influence over the local government process.

The Lib-Dems and Tories would much rather see Labour controlling all the Committees in Hartlepool than have Independent or UKIP Councillors anywhere near positions of authority.

The “real” politics of the situation in Hartlepool is that Labour will remain in control for as long as the Liberal Democrats AND Tories continue to allow them to do so or until the combined seats of the Lib/Lab/Con are less than all the others on the Council. Having a majority of none Lib/Lab/Con Councillors is of course is extremely unlikely to happen as the three parties work quite closely together to keep out individuals and other parties not in their club. The use of a spoiler candidate in Grange Ward by the Tories for example gave the illusion of a democratic choice but actually have the overall effect of ensuring the Labour Candidate would be elected. A fine example of the Lib/Lab/Con working to support each other against outsiders.

A discussion on another forum has speculated it might even be hatred of me personally (and UKIP in general) that drives both the Tories and the Lib-Dems to support Labour. If Keith Fisher had beaten Carl Richardson and UKIP had succeeded in toppling Arthur Preece (who has NEVER spoken directly to me in the 6 years I have been a local Councillor!) it might have signalled a major change for Hartlepool Politics. However, I think the Tories and Lib-Dems would STILL have supported Labour as the Lib/Lab/Con would much rather have each other than some upstart independent or a new political party muscling into their play pen.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Lib/Lab/Con is alive and well in Hartlepool

After the May 1st Elections I posted that the Tories “spoiler” candidates had saved the Labour Group from even bigger defeats. The Tories have now allied with the Lib-Dems to keep Hartlepool Council under LABOUR Control even though Labour no longer has a majority of Members. Labour are the biggest individual group with 23 from 48 Councillors but without an overall majority.

Today was the first (and possibly last) round of the annual horse trading over who will chair which Committees for the coming year. Remember this is very important as CASH is on the table in the form of “extra responsibility allowances” associated with being Chairman of a Committee.

Labour announced they were taking 12 of the available 16 Chairs. These were the Chair of Full Council plus the Chairmanships of Planning, Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee, Constitution Committee, North Neighbourhood Forum, Central Neighbourhood Forum, South Neighbourhood Forum, Health Scrutiny, Culture and Learning Scrutiny, Regeneration Scrutiny, Children's Service Scrutiny and Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny.

With the nod from Labour the Lib-Dems took 2 Chairs (General Purposes and Audit Committee.) plus Vice Chair of Full Council. The Tories, again with the nod from Labour took the last 2 chairs (Licensing and Contract Scrutiny).

So that gave Labour 12 Chairs (including Chair of Full Council), Lib-Dems 2 Chairs (plus the Vice Chair of Full Council), the Tories 2 Chairs and the Admin Group nothing at all.

The Admin Group, who are remember the second biggest group on the Council After Labour, proposed that the Chair of the Full Council should go to the Lib-Dems with a Labour Vice Chair. Plus Chair of Regeneration Scrutiny, Chair of Children's Service Scrutiny and Chair of North Neighbourhood Forum should go to the Admin Group.

Obviously the Admin Group proposal required the Labour Group to accept they were no longer in the Majority in Hartlepool Council and allow none Labour Councillors to take some positions of responsibility within the Council. The Admin Group proposals would have split the Chairs as follows.

Labour with 23 Councillors, 8 Chairs and Vice Chair of Full Council.

Admin with 10 Councillors, 3 Chairs.

Lib Dems with 6 Councillors, 3 Chairs including Chair of Full Council

Tories with 5 Councillors, 2 Chairs.

This seemed to be eminently fair and balanced and even still slightly over generous to Labour if anything. The Tories still got exactly what they wanted, the Lib Dems actually did better out of this proposal and the Admin Group was able to contribute. Labour still had the biggest slice of the pie but they lost overall control, reflecting the situation after the last elections.

The Labour response


"NO"


they refused to even discuss it.

The Lib-Dems and Tories then BOTH backed Labour.

Despite losing overall control on May 1st the Labour Group is going to hold onto 12 out of 16 Chairs, including the Chair of Full Council and all the Scrutiny Forums and all the neighbourhood forums.

Next time the people of Hartlepool vote Lib-Dem or Tory maybe they should remember that when it comes down to it the Lib-Dems and Tories both voted to keep the Labour Group in power.

The Lib/Lab/Con is alive and well in Hartlepool.

What price Democracy?

Let's hear it for the real alternative

Taxes going up and up and up!

Post Offices Closing Down!

Immigration out of Control

British Troops being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan

Waste incinerators on your doorstep

Economy in freefall


The list could go on. The 10p Tax fiasco show the Labour Government is failing and ignoring its traditional supporters. Desperate to divert attention away from its record in government the Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party hope that selecting the daughter of the late MP as their candidate will appeal to personal loyalty.

Why should Crewe and Nantwich elect a former Labour Welsh Assembly Member looking to cash in on family connections to restore her flagging political career? Make no mistake Tamsin would be no “chip of the old block” if it came to putting Crewe and Nantwich ahead of Party loyalty. Party, Party, Party will win every time.

So what’s the alternative?

It doesn’t matter if you vote Labour, Tory or Lib-Dem. All three take 80% of their policy instructions for the European Union Commission in Brussels. This effects almost every aspect of daily life in the UK.

So what is the alternative?

The UK Independence Party is the only real opposition!


UKIP is the only Party fighting in
Westminster and Brussels to regain control of our country from the European Union Superstate.

Only UKIP want to regain control of our borders, stop unlimited immigration, repeal the Human Rights Act, rebuild our links with the Commonwealth and scrap The Common Agricultural Policy, The Common Fisheries Policy and The Common Energy Policy.


UKIP don’t want what’s best for Europe.

UKIP want what’s best for Britain.


On May 22nd the only way to make a real difference is vote for Mike Nattrass and the UK Independence Party.

On May 22nd you are not going to change the government of this country but you can send a powerful message!

On May 22nd tell Gordon Brown and the Lib/Lab/Con that ordinary, decent, British people and saying “Enough is enough”


Vote Mike Nattrass – Vote UKIP!



Published by me on my blog in support of Mike Nattrass, the UK Independence Party Candidate
Crewe and Nantwich By-Election. Campaign Office 121 Nantwich Road Crewe

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Don't PANIC

Slight panic today over submission of nominations. My calculations based on the normal by-election timetable was that nominations closed between day 6 to 9 at the discretion of the returning officer. The days being calculated from Day 0 being the moving of the writ in Parliament. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays are excluded from the day count.

The Council's Election Office have been so busy with local elections and then straight into this by-election that there has been no briefing meeting for Candidates/Agents and no official timetable has been issued so by my reckoning the Writ was moved on 30th April (Day 0), was received in the Constituency 1st May (Day 1) and that made Day 6 on Friday 9th May (Saturday 3rd, Sunday 4th and Bank Holiday 5th May all excluded).

I always like to get nominations in early so was aiming to do it today (Wednesday) which I thought was in plenty of time. However, according to the TV news this morning Nominations closed today, NOT Friday. The Agent therefore was outside the Council Offices this morning before they opened! Nominations in and accepted.

I am still convinced that Friday should be the day nominations close but our papers are in so I'll let someone else worry about it.

According to the Elections Office the postal Ballot Papers will be going out on Friday 9th May so I suppose they need a couple of days to print them (there are approximately 7,000) so to get them out Friday they did need to close nominations today! Of course the Royal Mail Election Addresses will not be delivered until week commencing May 12th so some people will have voted before they receive anything through their letter box unless it is hand delivered by activists this weekend or an individual letter sent to the postal voters before next Saturday.

Don't fancy licking 7,000 stamps over the next two days! That would really give me a sore tongue!

Challenger I and II in close company

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

UKIP MP and MEPs to speak in Crewe and Nantwich

Things in Crewe appear to be (mostly) under control. I do hope these are not famous last words!

Our first leaflets were put through letterboxes on Saturday and a little later in the campaign we will have a good old Routemaster bus, decked out in UKIP logos. Two public meetings have also been arranged.

Monday May 12, 7-30pm. Crewe Arms Hotel-opposite Crewe Railway Station. Special guest speaker Bob Spink, UKIP MP for Castle Point. This will be Bob’s first public meeting as a UKIP MP so I hope he will get a rousing reception.

Monday May 19, 7-30pm. Nantwich Town FC. The Weaver Stadium, Water Lode, Nantwich, CW5 5BS. Special guest speaker is Nigel Farage MEP, Party Leader who needs no introduction. Mike Nattrass MEP will be addressing the meetings as candidate and there will be other speakers at both meetings too.

So all in all not a bad day so far!

Polish Sausage

The sun is shining today and I am chewing on a Polish Sausage. There is a Polish Grocery shop right opposite our office and they do a mean line in spicy sausages!

Also discovered what "Czajnik bezprzewodowy" means in Polish (well I think I do) any guesses?

Well I think it means "Cordless Jug Kettle" because that's what it says on the other side of the box in English. This was purchased in the local TESCO yesterday as the office was sadly lacking in tea and coffee making facilities. Reading the rest of the box (yes I'm sad!) I discovered the kettle was made in China for Tesco Stores UK and is labelled in English and Polish as the main languages but CZ, H and SK translations are also in smaller print.

Ah the wonders of globalisation

Monday, 5 May 2008

It's raining in Crew

Well here I am in Crewe. Its just after lunch and the rain is coming down. The UKIP Campaign Office is up and running at

121 Natwich Road
Crewe
CW2 6BA

our telephone number is 01270 211007

Broadband is on line and webpage is being set up as we speak. Not as far along with leaflet distribution planning as we would like since we couldn't get ward maps from local council on Friday as they were busy with local election count and they are closed today for Bank Holiday.

We've seen the some Labour activity as their HQ is just down the road from ours and of course they have selected the daughter of the former MP to as their candidate. Labour might not support the hereditary principle in the House of Lords but there appears to be a developing hereditary element in the House of Commons. Just look at how many husband/wife teams of MPs there are and how many MPs are sons, daughters, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, etc of former or even sitting MPs. Some newspapers talk about a developing "Political Class" in the UK but to me its getting more like a family business. At least the people of Hull had the good sense to reject John Prescott's son to replace his father but I'd put money on Prescott Junior popping up again somewhere soon.

Cameron is rumoured to be in town tomorrow so maybe the pace will be hotting up.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

All aboard for Crewe

Arrived home in time for the local election results but also to learn that in total disregard of all tradition and convention the Labour Party have moved the Writ for the Crewe by-election before the late Ms Dunwoody has been laid to rest.

As a gesture of respect to the deceased it is usually accepted that no direct campaigning will take place until after the funeral. When the Lib-Dems started early ion Bromley they were rightly criticised of not even waiting until the former MP Eric Forth was cold before they were jockeying for his seat. However, in the case of Ms Dunwoody it is here own party that have started to campaign rolling before she is in the ground.

As a result of this I will be on the train to Crewe in the morning. As UKIP Campaigns Director I'm responsible for ensuring we fight a professional campaign and comply with all the regulatory issues. The Candidate is the West Midlands MEP Mike Natrass and poling day will be May 22nd.

So it looks like it might be another hiatus for blogging! Catch you all when I get back when I hope to have the reports ready on my Tall Ships Challenger experience. It was definitely an experience I can tell you that. Of course the possibility of the Fastnet Race 2009 has now come up..........but that's definitely a story for another day.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my son Edward who is 16 today! We shared a cake this afternoon as I was away on the ocean wave on my birthday on Monday (28th April) and it is difficult to have a birthday cake when the deck is at 35 degrees.

Proportional Representation in Hartlepool?

I can't help but play with numbers, it's just the way I am. That's why 1,000,000 visitors to the tall ships is giving me such a hard time and why Council tax increases always seem so hard to justify in real numbers. However, enough of that!

I've just played a little numbers game of "What if Hartlepool Council was elected on a proportional representation single basis".

Of course it's not an exact science since the number of wards contested by each party come come into play but based on the number of votes cast last night it needed only average of 865 votes to elect one of the 7 labour Councillors returned last night, 1,175 to elect one of the three successful Independents, 1,334 for each of the Lib-Dem, 2,121 for UKIP's success and 2,131 for each of the two Tories.

Translate that into proportional representation based on average votes cast per ward contested and then multiplied up to estimate the result for all 15 wards and the Proportional representation make up of the seats won changes to

Labour 3 Seats (Down 4),
Independents 4 Seats (up 1),
Liberal Democrats 2 (no Change),
UKIP 2 (up 1) and
Tories 3 (up 1).

The Tory figure is actually most suspect because although they stood in 11 Wards out of 15 they got almost half their total vote in just two wards (Park and Throston).

The other surprise is that the PR Calculation would have given the BNP a seat. Of course this is why demands for PR are resisted by the main three parties. Labour would loose seats but the Tories wouldn't necessarily gain them and the Lib-Dems remain the same so none of those three would benefit by a fairer election system and so it will never happen!

UKIP get second Councillor in Hartlepool

Hello everyone, I'm back from life on the Ocean wave and straight back into the swing of politics.


Starting with some extremely good news, well I think so, I'm sure some people might not be quite so pleased!

Martyn Aiken was successfully elected as a member of the Hartlepool Unitary Authority Council last night. Martyn polled 396 Votes and won the seat with a majority of 8 votes over Labour (388 votes) and the sitting Liberal Democrat Councillor who trailed behind in third place with 321 votes. The result was a testament to hard, prolonged work in the ward. Martyn Aiken and the Hartlepool UKIP team under Chairman Eric Wilson who have repeatedly leafleted and canvassed the ward over the past two years. It is long, hard slog that wins local elections, a lesson UKIP appears to only recently have taken on board. If at first you don’t succeed then try, try, and try again!

UKIP’s existing Hartlepool Councillor, Stephen Allison (elected 2006) is now looking forward to Martyn Aiken joining him in Hartlepool Council Chamber. Having another seat in the Chamber will make quite a difference to the effectiveness of Hartlepool UKIP as this mean motions can now be proposed and seconded by the UKIP Group. This obviously was not possible when Stephen Allison was the sole UKIP representative on the Council.

The night also held some disappointments for UKIP Hartlepool. Our second target seat was held by the Liberal Democrats on 419 votes with UKIP second on 417. The sitting Councillor retaining his seat by only 2 votes (after three recounts). Well done George Springer for all his hard work. To para-phrase the Governor of Califonia "He'll be back!"

The third target seat was Rossmere which was held by the sitting Labour Councillor with 488 votes. UKIP were again in second place with 373. Dave Pascoe, the UKIP Candidate has worked this ward very hard and improved his vote every time. He was within striking distance of winning the seat and could very well have taken it but for a last minute spoiler candidate put up by the Tories, who finished last in the ward but took nearly 200 votes, well in excess of the 115 Labour majority.

The Hartlepool Labour Group owes a huge “Thank You” to the Hartlepool Tories for putting up spoiler candidates in several wards. The Labour Chairman and the Labour MP’s Election Agent could both quite easily have lost their seats apart from the intervention of the Tories in wards they couldn’t win but where they did have enough influence to split the vote sufficiently to ensure sitting Labour Councillors were re-elected. Hartlepool Council a Labour/Tory Alliance? Well politics do reportedly make strange bedfellows.