Thursday, 22 July 2010


I see the You Gov tracker opinion poll now puts the Lib Dems on 14%, somewhat unsurprising as they have become consumed by the Conservative agenda.

I believe Nick (Ramsey)McClegg made a fundamental mistake by not taking a leading portfolio, but seeing his performance in prime minister questions perhaps it's better he continues in the nodding dog mode.

However Mr Cameron has made more than a little gaffe in America , perhaps he can do as foreign professional footballers do, he can say it was out of context or misquoted, or more likely his friends in the media will just brush his lack of historic knowledge under the carpet.

There was an interesting piece in the independent today.

It warns of a Triple Whammy, higher inflation, lower growth and higher unemployment.

The VAT rise in January will help fuel inflation, the cuts in the public sector will lower growth and both will cause employment.

If we look at the tax cuts they propose will mainly benefit the conservatives friends, the VAT tax rise wipes out the benefit from the higher tax allowances for the lower paid, with freezing child benefit many low income families will be worse off, this before the unspecified public sector cuts.

So the Con Dem budget is beginning to look worse even before it's enacted, Lib Dem voters believed they were progressives, 14% might look good for the lib dems in 2012.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A bogus narrative

So overall crime fell last year and unemployment fell in the first three months of this year, when Labour was still in government, David Camerons narrative 'broken Britain' was rubbish at the election and remains rubbish today.

Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative Justice minister rightly said that economic conditions play an important part in crime reduction, under Labour crime fell, yes for the vast majority of the Labour government we enjoyed the longest sustained economic growth, Labour invested in Sure Start, extended schools including breakfast clubs.

It was sad the new CONDEM government cancelled the 500,000 additional free school meals for poorer children.

The new CONDEM government are now cutting the support grant to councils, so the soft targets are going to take a hammering, these services will include youth services for sure, this will mean a reduction in service and remember we only have a youth club 2 evenings a week now in Shepton.

Nationally 60,000 police officers will be cut in the next five years.

I like Ken Clarke words, better support before young people get involved with criminal behaviour, this means investing in young people in their early years, improving educational opportunity, adding support through those school years with professionals helping those young people with acute needs, Labour was heading in that direction, I fear although Ken Clarke talks the right words, Mr Cameron and Clegg with their 25/40% cuts in public spending will undermine those words.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Are we going double dipping

I was reading a rather good book about the inter war years, the 1920 and 30's, the book dealt with politics, economics and news worthy stories.

The story of Ramsey McDonald interested me, how he was persuaded to form a national government and how in 1931 he made cuts to government spending that made people poorer and forced the economy further into recession.

The other historical moment that effected my life would have been when the IMF was called in in the mid/late 1970's, this again caused public sector cuts, I remember clearly, sharing a book between three children in many subjects at Whitstone, or teachers photocopying texts as there were no new books.

The Thatcher monetary experiment in the early 1980's made the IMF intervention worse, further public sector cuts, with tax cuts mainly for the wealthy and transfer of taxation into indirect taxation like VAT. It took me over twelve months to get a full time job, with nearly four million unemployed.

So to the present day, the recent emergency budget will increase VAT to 20% in January, cut corporation taxes to banks and cut public spending.

The real problem is that by cutting public sector jobs now, hence taking money out of the economy, whilst the private sector is still not growing, will certainly cause a much reduced growth rate, without growth how does private business expand?

Before long the economy just stagnates, moving in decreasing circles, less investment in public services, the wealthy can do without public services, ordinary people rely on public services.

The other concern is the property market, if there is no growth in the economy, more people lose their jobs, with house prices locally inflated, how long before we have a Japan type property depression?

History teaches lessons, sometimes it's important to learn from them.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Latest Council

Tonight we held the July Council meeting.

We discussed bollards in the Town Centre, I asked for a more creative approach with bike stands instead of bog standard bollards, a multi use solution.

John Parham reported a £2.5million reduction in the rate support grant from the new coalition government to Mendip District Council.

We nominated Terry Webb for an community service award.

We have set up a working group to investigate reclaiming the West Shepton Playing Fields, new councillor Jeff Curtis running with this one, if older readers will remember I was suggesting this last year when the football club were having their difficulties with Mendip Council.

We confirmed all our risk assessments and Health and Safety policy.

A dull meeting but at least some progress was made.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Building Schools for a future

So the Conservative Lib Dem coalition government has cut hundreds of schools modernisation schemes to improve learning conditions for young people and improve community assets so the extended learning agenda will embed learning as central importance in our communities.

In the recent by-election many people told me that ALL political parties were the same, implying that political parties were beneath them, but those people are wrong, today's announcement on the Building Schools for a Future just proves it.

When I became a governor at Whitstone, many windows were rotten, with windows precariously hanging in. I proud my government, a Labour government invested in the school and these were replaced and upgraded, thank goodness they did, if we had to wait for the Con and the Lib Dems, it would not of happened.

The Governors at Whitstone took the opportunities the Labour government offered and the school received money to install computer suites for every faculty, white boards etc, with this investment and quality teaching and leadership educational achievement improved, but without the tools this could not have been achieved.

Labour believes Every Child Matters, this is not just about equality of opportunity, this is more investment in those children who are at a disadvantage, this is why the extended schools programme is essential, the disadvantaged want the same chances as middle class families that is why community assets are so important, better to invest in young children, than to spend money on disaffected people in later life.

The time Lib Dem's used to criticise the pace of Labours spending, all ways demanding more and faster, these Tories with yellow ties ought to hang their heads in shame! Ramsey McClegg sold the Lib Dem's soul for a referendum on the Alternative Vote, a none proportionate electoral system and gerrymandered redrawing of our constituencies, for wholesale unavoidable savage cutting of our public services, with a £20 billion tax break for the banks.

Friday, 2 July 2010

No to AV

I see the CONDEMS are to hold the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum next year, this has to be illogical, not one major political party supports AV, Cons like First Past the Post, Lib Dems support Single Transferable Vote and Labour offers a referendum on AV.

AV is not proportional, so does not offer fair votes, on this basis I see no point changing the voting system for a system is not proportional.

Lets have a proper debate on a new constitutional settlement that offers fair votes and the decentalisation of power away from the centre and reform the constitution so citizens are the masters.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Another heroic campaign has ended in defeat, I claimed 241 votes, I am as ever proud that so many Shepton residents should vote for me and the Labour Party.

I must congratulate Mr Kennedy, Lib Dem on his win and my sympathy to Mrs Bartlett and Mr Britton who came 2nd and 4th respectively.

I'll give it until the conclusion of the world cup, then the next campaign begins, onwards and upwards, the things that you care about, decent affordable housing, services for young people and educational achievement and improvements in our great Town, election defeats do not change these desires, these are the things I care about, so, as a Town councillor, governor and community member I will continue to work for this place I call home.