Welsh Tories Spend Taxpayers Money On Best Hotel In Brussels

Hat tip to Ordovicius for this story.

It seems the Welsh Conservatives have not heard of the furore over Westminster MPs not really caring about their expenses.

3rd Lib Dem leaflet in Norwich North

Another day, another leaflet. This leaflet is A3, folded in to three, which is why it appears to have part printed upside down. When folded it is all the right way round.

The score so far ? Liberal Democrat 3, Conservative 3, Labour 1, UKIP 1, and all the others zero.

Labour are rather losing the ground war so far .Their only leaflet so far was far too negative and didn't appeal to Labour voters I know. Indeed some people I work with have still not got it.

Anyone seen the Green leaflet ? If so post me a copy and I'll post it up to to my blog. They may be sending me appalling anonymous comments (linking directly from other Green blogs who are also not entirely polite), but I'd love to see their leaflet.

Billboards - Big waste of money or effective campaigning technique ?

UKIP have the face and name of their candidate in Norwich North adorning a handful of billboard sites in the constituency. Apparently the Greens too are to follow UKIP in doing this. My question is whether it is effective.

At the last General Election in North Norfolk Iain Dale managed to get his face and name on the only large billboard in North Norfolk. Just as you drove in to Cromer from Norwich, there it was to greet you. I must admit it worried local Lib Dems in Cromer that it would "have an effect". However, our canvassing showed it had no real effect, with if anything a slightly negative response. The typical Norfolk view I got from people was "He thinks a little too much of himself".

So does a billboard persuade anyone ?

Certainly it might make people have an awareness that a candidate is standing of that party has not got a high enough profile in the constituency or is unable to deliver the number of leaflets that the main parties can put out. But in a by-election it can serve to show the lack of effective ground troops that party has. If the only thing that is seen from the Greens, for example, is one leaflet and one poster, it can serve to underline that that party is struggling. In constituency wide elections in normal electoral cycles, when each party may only get out two or three leaflets this may not matter. But in by-elections when delivering 10 leaflets in 5 weeks is the norm, will it not serve to undermining the intensity of that party's campaign ?

So whilst I cannot think billboards will not do any harm, speaking from my own experience I am still unsure how effective they are.

Does anyone else have experiences of billboards they can offer by way of comments ?


Norwich North By Election to be 23rd July

One blog is predicting the writ for the Norwich North by-election will be moved as soon as tomorrow.

Update : Now confirmed by the BBC.

First UKIP leaflet in Norwich North

The UKIP leaflet arrived today.

Apparently a Green leaflet has been going out for nearly a week, but seems not to have gone much further than two Norwich wards as yet.

The score ? Tory 3, Lib Dem 2, Labour 1, UKIP 1.


John Lewis and the Irony

Life is stranger than fiction.

The whole expenses scandal facing parliamentarians started after the press got hold of the John Lewis list of items that MPs were allowed to purchase. As a result of the publication of this list, the press and the public demanded more information about MPs, resulting eventually in the publication, in detail, by the Daily Telegraph of hundreds of expense claims MPs made.

One of the biggest knock-on effects of the publication by the Telegraph has been the resignation of Ian Gibson in Norwich North causing a by-election. And now, who has been selected to stand for Labour ? Chris Ostrowski, who works for John Lewis.

It's like 6 degrees of separation.

Labour select Norwich North candidate

Labour have apparently chosed Chris Ostrowski to be their candidate in Norwich North. He is a business development manager (what ever that means). And no, I haven't hear of him either.

The age of no return

I am firmly of the opinion that I have officially gone past the plateau of my physical health and am now on a steady slope down a long hill that leads to the precipice of death. Yes, at the age of 38, I can no longer pretend that age is just a state of mind. A number of things have brought me to that conclusion, all of which Iwill list as a guide for you to monitor for the symptoms yourself.

1) Grey Hair
I was very lucky to avoid any grey hair until just a few months ago. I found one, saw it as something of a novelty, plucked it out and no more were seen for some time. Now, I have about 10 and I will have to accept that pulling my hair out is probably not the best course of action. Not that I fear baldness (I am too like my grandfather who never lost his hair but had bad knees like me to worry about losing hair), but alopecia was something I had as a child and it does not suit school teachers.

2) Musical taste
Using my good ICT skills, the excellent Audacity download and a PC I edited down, mixed and adjusted all the music for the school talent show a couple of weeks back. There was only one problem, and that was that I seemed completely unable to tell two particular tunes apart. They sounded like "boom boom boom boom", in essence like a load of noise that was just too modern for me. That, as any episode of "Grumpy Old Men" will tell you, is a sure sign of old age.

3) Driving
I no longer feel the need the need to race away from traffic lights. Instead I having the economy meter on in my car all the time and try to get too and from work averaging more that 30mpg.

4) My back
My back hurts so often through doing absolutely nothing. I get it put right and it goes wrong again within two months. I see an osteopath (not a chiropractor) and he is great, but like an old car, I now have to be treated with great care.

5) Plants
I now grow courgettes, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. in my youth I would never have done this, indeed even 5 years ago I would have considered it a waste of time.

So, that's it. The end is nigh !

I want a doctor whose abilities I can have faith in not a doctor who wants to talk about faith

There are, according to the BBC, a large number of doctors who want to be able to talk to patients about God and their faith and are lobbying the GMC to allow them to do so. Personally, I would find this very worrying.

If I was going in to hospital I would want to be able to trust the doctor has the abilities to deal with my problems. I put my faith in the doctor and years of medical training. What I don't want is a doctor giving me the impression that he or she really does not have the skills to deal with my problem and instead relies on "divine intervention". In my view, if I have something so serious that the doctor cannot cure it, then this is extreme bad luck. But if he is telling me there is a god out there and I should pray to him, my response would be why would god curse me with the illness in the first place, which leads me to the very reason why I have no faith in any god in the first place.

I hope the GMC will realise that a doctor espousing praying is akin to telling a patient to "keep your fingers crossed" and gives patients no confidence in the ability of the doctor.


3rd Tory Leaflet in Norwich North

We received the third Tory leaflet this morning, although as my non political wife pointd out "We've had this one before". We haven't, of course, it's just that it looks identical, is laid out the same, and is the same size as the two previous Tory leaflets. I wonder how many other people will also think they have "had this one before" and will instantly throw it away without read it.

It seems the Tory agent brought in for this election does not understand one simple basic truth about leaflets, that they should look diofferent from previous leaflets in size, colour, orientation and shape in order to allow people to recognise that they are indeed different leaflets.

Oh, and the more politcally astute will note that virtually all the photos were taken on the same day because she has the same blouse on in each photo (and changes her jacket).

I wonder too how the Tory candidate can attempt to take credit for new youth facilities in Taverham that have been paid for by Taverham Parish Council and have nothing to do with actions by either Tory run Broadland or any local Tory councillors.


For the benefit of the BBC "I DON'T CARE ABOUT GLASTONBURY !"

I just thought the BBC might want to know that despite their constant advertising on every radio station in the BBC network, between virtually every programme on BBC 1, 2, 3 & 4 (and probably News and Parliament also), I really don't care about Glastonbury. Even when I was younger, I didn't really care about it. A friend of mine lived in Pilton (where the festival is actually held), and I still didn't want to go to the festival.

It's much the same as Ibiza, which the BBC will soon start plugging on all channels in order to get us to listen to (and justify) Radio One sending dozens of its presenters and other staff to the island for a "jolly".

So if you didn't get that, I DON'T CARE ABOUT GLASTONBURY.

First poll in Norwich North

I have been contacted about a poll (from a small sample of just 300 voters) in Norwich North which will come as a relief to the Lib Dems and a blow to the Greens who are claiming to be ahead of the Lib Dems after recent elections in the constitutency.

The poll shows the figures as Conservative 34%, Labour 30%, Liberal Democrat 15%, Green 14% and Other 7%.

The figures will also give comfort to both Labour and Tory camps with the Tory party on 34% but Labour not out of the race yet on 30%.

Update : I note that the Green's (particularly Scottish ones who have probably never been to Norwich) are already spinning this poll as a jump in their vote, not noting that they were claiming a week ago to be the clear challengers in the seat. Strange logic ? Isn't that just typical of the control freakery of the Greens that "They know best" ? That'll be the same Greens who want Norwich Airport closed, but dare not mention it in Norwich North (where the Airport is) because so many people work there or fly from there on their holidays !


Michael Jackson dead ?

Odd rumours circulating that Michael Jackson might be dead ?

No opinions to offer personally on this.

Update : Now confirmed that he is dead. A great shame all round of undoubted talent whose music will live on but whose reputation will be forever tarnished by allegations of abuse.

Second Tory leaflet in Norwich North

This makes the score Tory 2 - Labour 1 - Lib Dem 2.

For me, it fails one test. It looks too similar to the previous leaflet. I know the previous one was colour, but not all people will not remember this detail.

One interesting point from the leaflet was that they claim Cameron's meeting in Norwich was a great success by taking choice comments, whilst ignoring that he angered many by using foreign accents and making references to the Germans. Basil Fawly would be proud (don't mention the war).

Do as the Greens say, or not, as the case may be

The Greens in Norwich have reacted badly to certain facts about their candidate being publicised by the Lib Dems, according to the EDP.

Isn't funny how the Greens like to bandy about quoting things the Lib Dems have said and done, but when the Lib Dems point out things the Green Party candidate said 5 years ago, they seem to think that it is irrelevent to the ongoing campaign and nothing to do with the Green Party itself.

A candidate is elected under a party banner, but represents their own views and these are totally relevent to their wish to become an MP.

So the Greens are saying do as I saw, except they aren't because in this case they are saying that what they say is not what they are actually saying ??? Get it ??? No. Thought not.


Unimpressive and underwhelmed

A friend texted me today to say he had met the Tory candidate for Norwich North and was, how should we put it, deeply underwhelmed.

It is clear that the Tories never saw Norwich North as a seat they really stood a chance of winning against Ian Gibson, and their selection was viewed by many in this area at the time as them given a chance to someone who really would not have got a look in at a truly winnable seat.

I seem to recall the Labour Party prior to 1997 selecting all sorts of characters (and the characterless) to stand in seats all over the country where they felt they had little chance only to find in the New Labour avalanche that some of these people, some very clearly not of the highest calibre, were suddenly elected. I remember talking to a Labour activist in South London who told me that if they had known that they stood even the slightest chance in his constituency they would have chosen a candidate who had a least half a brain rather than the "idiot" they chose.

Now who am I to knock the Tory in Norwich North. I have yet to meet her and perhaps she does have the full skill set required even if she does not set the world alight. But 1997 serves as a lesson to every party, but particularly the Tories this time, to ensure that their candidates in even half winnable seats have the full set of skills needed to be an MP and not just have been gone to the right university of private school.


Norwich North by election - The Lib Dem selection dilemma

Iain Dale has something of an exclusive on the selection of the Lib Dem candidate in Norwich North, and I guess it is my job to make some kind of defence.

In truth, the Lib Dems know that the best chance they have is to select a well know recognisable name who comes with instant recognition or legitimacy that can bridge the gap that automatically comes from starting in third place. My guess is that Martin Bell or a local paper editor would have given the Lib Dem campaign a real boost. It has worked for the Liberals in the past (remember Clement Freud in the Isle of Ely in 1973 ? ), and there was no reason to suggest this couldn't happen again.

To be fair, as I understand it, local members would still have had to select a candidate from a shortlist, even if a celebrity name came forward, and April Pond was one of two candidates who made it to the selection meeting.

Can I shed any more light on this ? Not really. As I see it Nick Clegg was doing the right thing to maximise the Lib Dem chances of success. Would the Tories have done the same ? Well I seem to recall they selected the owner of a local radio station in Ealing a few months back for a by election there, and the similarities and parallels seem clear.

Second Lib Dem leaflet out in Norwich North

A second Lib Dem leaflet arrived today, putting the leaflet score at Tories 1, Labour 1 and Lib Dem 2.


The government policy on hostages

The news of the death of two British hostages in Iraq is terribly sad, but views expressed today about the "lack of effort" from the British government seem wide of the mark in my view.

I have read and heard that the Foreign Office are expending more energy on this hostages situation than they ever have on any previous hostage situation. But if the government are being criticised for refusing to pay a ransom of do the "continental" thing and simply give in to terrorist demands, then I, for one, stand right with the British government.

The British line on this issue has been clear for years. We do not pay terrorists. We do not throw our principles in the bin because of hostage situations and we do not help fund terrorists groups by handing over ransoms.

The fact is, however sad, those people taken hostage in Iraq were there on very highly paid contracts because they were in a war zone. They knew the risks before going and took a calculated risk in going there. Unfortunately the game of Russian Roulette they played was one they did not win.

I hope that the government are successful in their attempts to free the remaining three and my heart goes out to the families. But if we want to encourage more hostage taking then giving in to terrorist demands is is the sure fire way to do it.

First Labour Leaflet in Norwich North

Here is the first Labour leaflet going out in Norwich North.

Apparently if the Tories get in the world will come to an end !

Norwich North and Iain Dale and the rights and wrongs of candidates

Iain Dale kindly makes the point that I would have been a strong candidate for the Norwich North seat whilst also taking a swipe, possibly, depending on your arguments some justification, at the problems the Lib Dems in Norwich North may have created in selecting April Pond as the candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.

Now I am not going to provide quotes to be used on Tory election leaflets across Broadland, so I will show a degree of restraint not always seen on this blog, but I was somewhat surprised to see that having been selected for the target seat of Broadland two years ago, followed by a decent run of council results across that constituency, that April Pond then wanted to stand in Norwich North, a seat which does not have the prospects of Broadland.

In response to me I would assume that April would want to point out that parts of Norwich North will be moving in to Broadland at the next general election and that she has already received heavy promotion in the Taverham and Drayton bits of Norwich North (the bits that move to Broadland) so it is not as if she is changing seats. I am not going to debate that view, I only state it in order to be fair to April.

Iain wrote kindly about the fact that I should have been selected by the Lib Dems. I thank him for the compliment, but the party did not seem that willing. There was, in my opinion, a lack of interest from the Liberal Democrats, as an organisation, in me standing. So many members and activists were encouraging me to do so, but the signals from above were that someone in my position would not be of value as a candidate. I am not blowing my own trumpet too much, but I am an approved candidate, I live in the constituency, I went to school in the constituency and I work in the constituency. Also in one ward in Norwich I have quite a high profile due to my job, and more importantly I was keen to do it. Having said that I pointed out to people that by virtue of my job I was not going to be able to give up the time that other candidates might (in that I would not be taking three weeks off work for the duration of the campaign), I really did not receive a lot of encouragement other than being told "you ought to apply". Phone calls I made to people made it clear that my situation was not ideal and would make it "Very difficult", so I was loathe to fill in an application in order for it to be rejected out of hand. Then, to make matters worse, I was told the interviews would be held in Cambridge or London (despite the fact that there are two Lib Dem offices in Norfolk) on a Thursday (another school day), which effectively put an end to any hopes I might have had for standing. In short, I was keen, but the systems put in place do not make it easy for certain professions to jump the hurdles the party puts in the way.

I didn't attend the selection meeting yesterday. I was attending the Diss Carnival with family and then came down rather ill, so I cannot comment on the quality of all the candidates. I certainly voted for April when she stood to become PPC in Broadland and think she has many great qualities. From Norwich North's point of view, it is probably the case that April was the best candidate they could choose from. She was a Norwich City Councillor, she was involved in many decisions which made Norwich North a better place, and she is also local and has some name recognition in Taverham and Drayton. So I don't question the choice or judgement of local members in selecting her.

I am sure the Tories in Broadland will be asking questions in their leaflets in Broadland in the next General Election. If I were in their shoes, I'd be doing the same.


"Flipping" George Osborne saves £55000 in tax

The man who wants to be the man in charge of the country's tax at after the next general election is accused by the lib Dems today of "flipping" his second home in order to save £55k in tax.

The link to the story is HERE.

If true, it means David Cameron will have to show whether his newly found conversion to open government and decency amongst Tory MPs is confined only to the old guard and those Tories he does not get on with or whether it extends to his inner circle.


Why is Charles Clarke so large ? The mystery is solved

I've often wondered why Charles Clarke, the rotund MP for Norwich South, is so very large. Very few MPs seem to be on the obese side of overwight (aside from the obvious Eric Pickles), due to the fact that being an MP is a job that requires you to be constantly on the go.

Well according to his expenses, he spends the maximum £400 per month allowance (which is paid without receipts) on food alone.

Well, now I know.

He was, according to various local media, "unavailable for comment". To be honest, it would have been rude for him to talk with his mouth full anyway !

BBC East show blantant Tory bias

On Monday the BBC Look Est programme had a special report on David Cameron's visit to Norwich, interviews with local Tories, a reporter at the venue of his visit, and it was one of the main headlines.

I twittered yesterday wondering what sort of coverage the press would give Nick Clegg for his visit today. Surprise surprise, in line with the BBC's constant reporting of David Cameron opening an envelope and giving him headlines for it and their inability to report anyone in the Lib Dems except Vince Cable, BBC Look East totally failed to mention Nick Clegg's visit to Norwich today, failing even to mention it in passing.

The next time the Tories go on about the bias in the BBC, we can all remind them which way the BBC is leaning in their bias.

Why the hell should we be interested in what a former second home owner has to say about planning issues in a place she does not even live in ?

Apparently Amanda Holden, well known actress, adulterer and botoxed judge (apparently) on Britain's Got Talent is opposed to the building of wind turbines in Norfolk.

Does she live here ? No. She has a holiday some miles away.

Does she own property where the wind farm is going to be built ? No.

Is she from Norfolk ? No.

Does she even still own a second home in Norfolk ? Apparently some distance away.

So what the hell has it got to do with her ? No idea !


First Lib Dem Leaflet in Norwich North

Still no sign of a Labour, UKIP or Green leaflet. The Lib Dem leaflet arrived today and I saw two Lib Dem leafletters out delivering in parts of Norwich North on my way home from work so the Lib Dems have hit the ground running.


Pity the poor Tory and Labour campaign staffer who had to read my blog from start to finish

I got an interesting text from a friend of mine with Tory connections who told me that my blog was almost certainly being read, in detail, in case there was something on me to use against me if I had stood in the Norwich North by-election.

No doubt Labour were doing the same.

I just pity the poor fool who was paid to do that.

How to waste money NHS style

My mother was due to have an operation today. The operation had been scheduled for some weeks and was to be a "routine" thing, with my mother possibly staying in overnight, but possibly being allowed out today. However, that was before she encountered the mess that is the NHS.

Having arrived early this morning, she was told she was number eight of eight on the list of patients for that particular surgeon. Then she was told there was not bed available, but if she waited, they might be able to find a bed. Note, this was a scheduled operation so why a bed was not ready is slightly mysterious in itself.

So, my mother waited and waited and waited, then was told she could be prepared to be operated on after 5 pm. She had been at the hospital all day, but at least, so she thought, she could expect to have the operation completed. But no. Despite the surgeon and his team of assistants being available and ready to do the operation, the anaesthetist "had to go", meaning the operation was cancelled, the time of the surgeon and his operation team had been wasted, all the tests my mother had done were wasted as was the time by nurses making ready and finding a bed.

What a total waste of time, but it begs the question as to why the anaesthetist was not prepared to to stay and why the hospital does not have another anaesthetist on call ? My wife had a similar problem when giving birth in that no anaesthetist was available. Luckily my son could be delivered naturally, but it was very much feared this would not be the case.

My real real concern today though was why an the NHS be allowed to work in this way. Forget that my mother is retired, but what are the implications for the economy if this is replicated all over the country everyday with hundreds of people taking days of work only for operations to be cancelled. However, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the real reason that the anaesthetist left early was due to him (or her) needing to be available at the BUPA hospital down the road or for private patients elsewhere ?


Fiver found in back pocket of old jeans

I know, how terribly patronising to the people of Latvia.

Bob Ainsworth - A sign of desperation by the government

On "Have I Got News For You" this week they mocked the fact that the Labour party have appointed the almost anonymous Bob Ainsworth as Minister of Defence. From my experience, they are right to joke about him.

I lived for three years, in Coventry and was a council candidate during that time in Bob Ainsworth's constituency. In that time, he was virtually anonymous. As a politically active and politically aware student, you might have expected the local politicians to be of immediate interest to me, and in the run up to the 1997 I expected to see lots of them, but of the then four MPs in Coventry (then reduced to 3 in 1997), Bob Ainsworth was the least seen and least known of any of them. Indeed John Butcher, the one Tory (who was standing down anyway) had the highest profile.

But the thing that stands out was the almost universal opinion of Bob Ainsworth from all sides, including Labour people I met during the campaign, who all described Bob Ainsworth as either anonymous or useless, and this man is Minister of Defence ?

Update - The Telegraph also has a lot of detail on Mr Ainsworth's expenses claims.


Who say's the Tories don't lie with their bar charts on leaflets in Norwich North ?

I have received my first leaflet of the campaign. I know a Lib Dem leaflet is going out already in other parts of the constituency. As soon as I get it, I will put it on this blog.

The interesting thing was though that the Tories, who are so holier than thou when making accusations against the Lib Dems about bar charts, are seemingly unable to produce an accurate bar chart themselves.

As you can see the Tory column on the graph overstates their vote by about 5%, and the Green vote too by about 2%, seemingly to make the Lib Dem look much more evenly balanced with other opposition parties and the Tories much further ahead.

What confuses me is why, when the Tories were in a clear second last time, they feel the need to alter the bar charts ?


On reflection ...

When you have a responsible job you enjoy and a young family, deciding whether or not to apply to stand for parliament is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Many people who read this blog will know that it has caused me some anguish, but despite the lobbying of lots of people in the Lib Dems and beyond who have urged me to stand, I simply cannot spare the time, I do not believe it is in the interests of those I teach to do so at this time and quite frankly, I don't actually want to work in London.

I gather there has been a good number of applicants to be Lib Dem candidate for the Norwich North seat, some of whom are of a very high calibre, and I can only wish whoever is successful well in their task.

Of course, this blog will give you details of the campaigns as they happen as I appear to be the only political blogger based in Norwich North.


Labour give the timing away for the Norwich North by-election

The Eastern Daily Press speculated this morning that Labour were going to delay the Norwich North by-election until October, but a call I just received from the Labour Party asking my "opinions on local issues ahead of the by-election that is to be held this summer", suggest that October is not the date Labour have in mind.

According to the EDP, someone called "Nick Starling", who is a "former county councillor" has ruled himself out of being the Lib Dem candidate. I don't know who "Nick" is and what area he was "county councillor" for. Fortunately my name is "Nich" and I am a former "District Councillor".

I have not fully ruled out the chances of putting my name forward and will be having further discussions with people in the party who I respect to seek a way forward. I am though very much of the opinion that as someone working in education, a job I see as a caring a nurturing one, it is totally irresponsible to take three weeks off, at taxpayers expense to jaunt around the constituency knocking on doors and playing party politics. But more than this, it would be difficult to justify to those pupils I teach, and their parents, that I am someone who really does see a job through.

There are some who prefer to see their employment in educational establishments as a vehicle or a title with which to promote themselves politically. This shows a lack of respect for their jobs and a lack of professionalism. Pupils, parents and ultimately taxpayers deserve better.

Could I still stand for Norwich North whilst not taking any time off work ? Possibly, but with only 16 hours to make a decision and with interviews for the seat being held on a work day in London or Cambridge, it seems the odds are stacked against me.


The political headline I thought least likely to see today

Surely this is the last likely story involving a senior Labour Mp that we expected to read today ?

A few illusions shattered ?

A colleague of mine started extolling the virtuous of the Green Party today at work. She was polite enough and is someone I generally get on with and respect. However, I got the distinct impression that her view of the Greens was not one that matched up with the reality of what they are like. But I guess we only judge from our own perspectives.

The saintly Greens, were simply not capable of being like the other parties. She refused to believe that a senior Norwich Green tried to spoil and gatecrash his way in to a Liberal Democrat meeting at the last General Election in Norwich. She refused to believe that female Lib Dems present at a meeting were shoved and jostled by a Green activist and she didn't believe that a senior Norwich Green sent an abusive letter to my father some years ago because of his support for the Norwich Northern by-pass.

When I said I could provide proof of these things, indeed I urged her to ask her Green friends about these things, and directed her to one particular Green who would know the truth and another Green who we both should mutually know who could back up what I said, her response was words to the effect of "No, you're a Lib Dem and they lie and the Greens don't do things like that".

So either they are brainwashing people or their voters really believe the Greens are some sort of second coming. The funny thing was though for the first time this might have showed this particular Green voter that actually the Greens are not as saintly as they claim. She wanted to deny it, but similarly, I hope she would know I was not lying.

I don't think any political party every reaches the heights that even it most ardent supporters could aspire to and perhaps it is a natural feature of politics that people who practise politics are human, so naturally sometimes, even Greens make mistakes ?


No change in Eastern Region

It appears that the voters in the East of England have voted pretty much as they did 5 years ago.

This must come as a devastating blow to the Greens who have been hoping to win a seat in the East and according to many (and I do know some) had seen it as inevitable that they would pick up a seat.

So in the East we still have 3 Tories, 2 UKIP, 1 Lib Dem and 1 Labour MEP.

Useless BBC Election Coverage

Whilst Iain Dale on the Internet is reporting local Euro results from boroughs across the country, the BBC interviewed Nick Brown and the French Finance Minster. Is this really election coverage from the BBC or self indulgent waffle ?

It's certainly not a proper results service. If you are watching the BBC, turn the volume down and listen to Iain and his team on the internet instead.

Okay Irfan Ahmed and Paul Walter, I will give Twitter a go

I have for some time been somewhat "Twitter Averse", in that I could see no possible use for it. However, I was also "Apple Averse" and I am getting on famously with my iPod. So after much lobbying from Paul Walter and Irfan Ahmed who cannot believe I have been using Twitter, I will give it a go.

If you have a gaping hole in your life and want to follow what I am doing, the big question I would ask is Why ? But if you still want to, I am registered as @Norfolkblogger.

Now if someone wants to give me advice on where I can get a fancy Twitter widget that looks nicer than the one I have got, I'd happily take advice.


A few lies being spread about the Norwich North By-Election

A few lies are starting to be spread to various websites and blogs which seem to be emanating from the Green Party. So it seems it is right to out these lies in to a factual context.

1) The Greens did not win the popular vote in Norwich North. They came 4th across the whole constituency which includes far more than just the four Norwich Wards.

2) Norwich North is NOT on the same boundaries as Norwich City Council. Half of Norwich North is made up from parts of Broadland District Council, an authority that has no Greens elected.

It seems that the Greens, so keen to position themselves are showing that facts shouldn't get in the way of misleading the electorate.

Update : I have also received an email from someone saying they had been emailed by a Green claiming that the Greens had a majority of councillors within Norwich North. For the record, the Greens have two councillors.

How galling for the French

On a day when the French sought to belittle the enormous contribution that Britain made both in terms of money, resources and lives lost in freeing France from the tyranny of Nazi rule by seeking to sideline Britain in events to commemorate the D Day landings 65 years ago, there was something to put a smile on my face this afternoon.

At the end of the women's final in the French Tennis Open both Russian finalists made their speeches in English not French ! You could see the pained expressions on some of the French faces trying to hide their disgust that French had been abandoned in favour of English.

Oh it did make me smile !

My political legacy lives on

During the last two years I have done very little direct political campaigning. For many people who will have met me over the years, this would seem very odd considering how driven I was about fighting and winning elections. But for me, my overriding priority in the last two years has been my family and my job. So it is something of a relief to know that you can step back from something and, if you have done the right amount of preparation and laid the foundations correctly, things will not collapse as soon as you leave someone else to do the things you used to do.

So it was a real pleasure last night to get a phone call from Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, to tell me that my legacy lives on in Fakenham and to thank me for getting Fakenham in to such a good state for the Lib Dems. I was, for four years, a district councillor in Fakenham, and during the period of my political involvement in the town we swept the board politically. So naturally yesterday my first reaction was to check the result from Fakenham, and it was really pleasing to see David Callaby re-elected as County Councillor with an increased share of the vote and an increased majority.

As for the County elections, I naturally looked at North Norfolk (I was Vice Chairman of North Norfolk Lib Dems) and it was great to see in North Norfolk a net gain for the Lib Dems of one seat (and a net loss for the Tories) and also an increase in the Lib Dem vote of about 4% to nearly 46%. Across Norfolk, mixed results. Norwich pretty much reflected what the Lib Dems did last year. I hyad a little smile when I saw Labour had held university ward. The Labour Councillor there is a friend of mine and despite my political allegiances it is nice to see that good people can buck the national trend.

As for South Norfolk, it is a real wake up call for the Lib Dems there. They have some wonderful campaigners and activists there, but they urgently need to reassess their strategy and perhaps take on board lessons of other Lib Dem constituencies in similar demographic areas (South Suffolk and South Cambridgeshire stand out as similar seats but in those seats the Lib Dems had really good County results).

So overall, wearing my North Norfolk hat, a good day. Thinking about Broadland, bigger majorities in their held seats and a near miss, Elsewhere though, mixed. But the Lib Dems started with 13 councillors and finish with the same amount. At the very highest water line for the Tories, it certainly provides lots of scope for the Lib Dems to make progress in four years time.


Time for something else to be burned to ashes

More than a hundred years ago the ashes were created from burning the parts of the stumps when England lost to Australia in a test match.

So what to we burn now we have lost to the Netherlands ? I am about 2% Dutch, so I have to take my hat of to them for beating England, but the shame of losing to an associate nation, one not even able to play test matches shows just how poor England are.

Norwich North By-Election - Will I get a call ?

With the news that Dr Ian Gibson has stepped down in Norwich North, causing a by-election, it leaves the Lib Dems with the urgent need to find a candidate. The question is, how many Lib Dem approved candidates live in his constituency ?


For the benefit of UKIP voters

A rather laughable story is being reported by the BBC. Apparently UKIP have got the electoral commission to ask polling staff to stop folding ballot papers because it seems UKIP voters are so stupid they cannot work out that there is more than one fold, and are unable to undo both folds of the ballot paper, thus ensuring they cannot find UKIP on the ballot paper.

So for the benefit of UKIP supporters



What I found laughable was that UKIP are claiming that "literally hundreds of people had contacted them" about this. So hundreds of people were able to get home, look up the UKIP phone number and moan, but those same hundreds were unable to undo a folded piece of paper.

Well that's saved me some money - The New Everton home kit

I always ALWAYS but the new Everton home kit they produce every couple of year, so I was a bit excited at the launch of their new kit today.

Having seen it though and realised it is a direct rip off of one of their very worst kits from the 1980s, I think I can live without this home kit. Fingers crossed the new away kit is considerably better.

I know retro can be cool and I know that when Everton last wore a kit like this they were very successful, but so were Liverpool when they worse their famous "bird shit kit", but it appears Liverpool have no plans to revive that piece of garbage !


The logic of the Green Party "We have not got a clue", admit Green Party

THIS is a great article highlighting that even leading lights in the Green Party know that their party policies are barking mad !

Sadly it reflects poorly on voters that they can be taken in by a party that does not have a clue. But what does anyone expect in the current political climate ?

The truth is though that the Green's attempt to label themselves as a non political party and as a result they pick up votes from those dissillusioned with the traditional parties. When people see them in power, which is likely in Norwich next year, and Greens have to make decisions about cuts, raising charges and taxes and a host of other hard decisions, they will no longer be able to stand aside from being a political party and people will, I believe, see them for what they really are.


BREAKING NEWS - Dr Ian Gibson deselected by Labour

BBC Look East are reporting that Dr Ian Gibson, the Labour MP for Norwich North has been deselected by Labour after appearing before the Labour star chamber to answer question about allegations made in the Daily Telegraph.

Many in his constituency will, like me, feel that Ian Gibson has been singled out by the Labour Party because he is a maverick and rebel prepared to criticise this god awful government when they are wrong whilst other more loyal MPs who have flipped their second homes and "played the system" remorselessly are allowed to get away with their crimes with no punishment or even questioning from the Labour Party.


Beware of prank leaflets

Oh dear, it appears Lib Dems in Cornwall have been caught out after an "in joke" went horribly wrong after some prank leaflets. You can read about it HERE.

I have, in the past, set up dummy leaflets, but my tone has always to parody something.

When doing an all night print run in 2003 when we ordered take away pizza to keep us going (along with lots of diet coke), I set up a leaflet with my council running mate that printed bar charts showing which pizza would finish first along with quote like "Everyone knows in North Norfolk that there is no point in ordering an four seasons Pizza - Only the meat feast can beat the pepperoni here",

Obviously this is a lesson that Cornwalll Lib Dems will learn from, and quickly !