Thursday, 26 May 2011

George, even your buddies are telling you

Yes, George Osbourne's favourite economic body the OECD are telling him your cutting government spending to fast and too deep.

The OECD are predicting UK growth to be 1.4% this year and only 1.8% next year and with limited action on inflation, we can expect the average worker to see his or her living standards to diminish over the next two years.

Business net investment fell sharply by 7.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year, which spells disaster for Osborne’s plan of relying on the private sector to offset the drop in public spending.

With households beginning to feel the squeeze as the cuts, taxes and inflation are taking their toll, spending suffered an unexpected drop of 0.6 per cent in the first quarter. With the UK economy being traditionally a consumerist country, with household spending accounting for approximately two-thirds of the economy, it does not bode well for overall growth.

With the governments deficit at a record high for April at £7.7bn compared to £5.3bn April last year, so, a year after a new Conservative government promised to cut the deficit, it is still not managing that task.

This deficit increase is a direct response to the austerity measures, the economy is in the doldrums thanks to Conservative: 1) promises they would cut jobs and spending, which has increased uncertainty; 2) raising VAT; 3) being unwilling to pump money into the economy.

The government needs to get the economy growing again, to get tax revenues to above where they were before the banking crisis, instead we have no growth, falling real wages, widening inequality, weak trade figures, falling house prices and sluggish high-street sales.

The longer the Conservative government continues on the wrong path, the harder it will be to secure good jobs and increasing standards of living.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Back to business

The Town Council met for the first time since the elections last evening, the Council was confronted with a very long agenda and the meeting closed after 10pm.

The Town Council supported me to become the Council Chairman, this being the third occasion of holding the office.

In my address I congratulated all members for their election success and especially those elected for the first time.

I paid my tribute to my Labour colleague, John Gilham who lost his seat after 50 years of service, a truly remarkable achievement, Colin Lockey also lost his seat after nearly thirty years and I stated that this public service should be recognised.

The Council elected it's new team, remarkably balanced, like Shepton we had plenty of votes.

The team is;
Chairman is yours truly
Vice Chair is bob Champion
Planning Chair is Derek Marvin
Admin Portfolio is John Parham
Collett park is Jeff Curtis
Ground Care is Terry Marsh
Asset Portfolio is Bente Height
Community Portfolio is Sue Cook
Regeneration Portfolio is Garfield Kennedy

For the record 3 Conservatives, 3 Lib Dems, 2 Independents and 1 Labour.

The new Town Council now has to get down to work and deliver for Shepton, we have pressing issues, like the Collett Park contract and the Council's office accommodation and the use of the capital fund, these decisions will be needed by the Autumn, so the new council will have to be up and running immediately and we also need to develop the new council's agenda for our Town.

Lots to do, can the new Council show the leadership required?

We have four years to make a difference, there is a lot to do.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Is the pregnant pause over?

Now the elections are over, has the NHS's pregnant pause passed over?

The Conservative back benchers cheered Andrew Lansley to the rafters, who wants to set up a free-market NHS comparable to the water or energy industry, and opening up all parts of the health service to private companies and EU competition laws.

The NHS reforms could in the coming two years provide a "big opportunity" for the for-profit sector, and that the NHS would ultimately end up as a financier of care similar to an insurance company rather than a provider of hospitals and staff.

This NHS reforms has received it's second reading in the House of Commons, with support by the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Labour has lodged many amendments that has been voted by both Conservative and lib Dem MPs. Labour amendments has called for the promotion of co-operation not competition, for a stronger local government role and proper democratic accountability, for national patient standards, and for the involvement of nurses and other doctors in commissioning.

People are losing confidence in the governments handling of the NHS, unsurprising as the coalition never placed this reform to the NHS to the country, a plan drawn up in private between the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

NHS inflation outstrips normal inflation so the NHS budgets are under severe pressures, with this top down reform we are seeing an increased funding gap, lower NHS productivity and waiting times rising.

The bureaucratic costs of this private insurance model on offer from this consevative led government, is higher than the current model, so far from saving money on paperwork, this will lead to less money spent on health.

Labour created the NHS in 1948, if these reforms go through Conservatives and Lib Dems will burry it in 2011/12.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Does mother justice turn a blind eye?

If the Law has any creditability, justice must seen be to be even handed.

These MP's expenses confuse me, admittedly I have not read extensively on the matter, but I judge these matters like this; if a benefit claimant on a council estate claimed deliberately to much benefit by making less than true statements, the government agency would rightly prosecute for defrauding the tax payer, the government even advertises to this end.

This week the Yeovil MP David Laws was "guilty of a series of serious breaches of the rules, over a considerable time".

He wrongly claimed expenses to pay rent to his partner and for building work and telephone bills, the report said.

The report also said Mr Laws had been wrong to designate his constituency home as his "main home" because he was spending more time living in London at Mr Lundie's property.

This arrangement allowed him to claim thousands of pounds in allowances against Mr Lundie's property.

He was also found guilty of wrongly claiming some £2,000 for building work and £2,248 for telephone bills. The rent claimed on Mr Lundie's property was also found to be £200 to £300 higher a month than the market rate.

The Standards Commisioner said "I have no evidence that Mr Laws made his claims with the intention of benefiting himself or his partner in conscious breach of the rules. But the sums of money involved were substantial... Some of them continued over a number of years."

He went on "It was inappropriate for him to be judge and jury in his own cause," he added. Mr Laws paid back £56,592 - more than was eventually required of him by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner - and referred himself for investigation.

In my opinion the best course of action by the Standards Commissioner would have been to pass the file onto the Police and Crown Prosecution Service, a number of Labour MPs have faced trial, is a seven days suspension from parliament punishment?

Without refering to the Police or CPS, the question of approriate punishment could be asked.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Although it was disappointing not to have won the election last week, it has been great walking around the Town talking to people about the elections.

For the first time in a long time, Labour supporters started to believe a Labour candidate could win, although we still have a way to go, the Lib Dem election mantra "Labour can't win here" has become redundant, not fit for repeating, throughout the Mendip District Labour candidates increased their votes over last times results.

The really good and positive outcome is Labour members are saying, what's next? They are motivated and are looking to take the fight to the Conservative led government, we are looking to build our membership, up our campaigning and show to the people Labour is back, more confident and looking to lead.

In Shepton west and Wells st Cuthbert, Labour proved to be competitive, in Street Labour polled respectably.

The Labour Party meets this week to discuss our forward plans, one thing can be assured Labour is more confident, active and will take on the issues that people are concerned.

The people of the Wells constituency are going to hear and see a lot more of labour in the coming years, what a difference a year makes.

Monday, 9 May 2011

All talk

The Labour Party tried today to sink the Conservative led government NHS reforms (read privatisation), these proposals are largely unnecessary and not needed the Royal College of GPs said they risked "unravelling and dismantling" the NHS.

Nick Clegg has said that he cannot support these changes to the NHS, so he could with his Party voted with labour to sink the NHS privatisation, he chose not too.

Is this more Lib Dem window dressing, remember, no tuition fees increase, tough action on bankers etc etc.

Nick Robinson the BBC political editor wrote:

The current NHS proposals were drawn up not just by the Tory Andrew Lansley but by his Lib Dem Deputy Paul Burstow.

They were reviewed and approved not just by the Conservative Oliver Letwin but by Clegg's soulmate Danny Alexander.

The foreword to them was signed not just by David Cameron but by Nick Clegg too.

So they are, to coin a phrase, all in it together when it comes to the NHS.

Nick Robinson Concluded;

Both know NHS reforms that go wrong could destroy their personal as well as political reputations.

I suspect it's too late for Nick Clegg

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Seve Ballesteros

As an Sunday morning golfer it was very sad to hear of the death of Seve Ballesteros, he was a golfing great, and gave great pleasure to the golfing viewer, the times I try an audacious recovery shot, I think I have Seve's powers, but never does the magic come to me the way it did for Seve.

A sad loss to sport and golf.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Thank You

Thank you to all those people that trusted me with your vote, again.

I will once again to do my best for Shepton.

On the positive side, I doubled the Labour vote from last July. Now only 20 votes away from the second district councillor, place.

It is extremely sad that I am now the last remaining Labour Town Councillor.

So, the work begins again.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


A Fresh Start for Shepton






in Shepton West




in Shepton East

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Party is nearly over

So, after four weeks of campaigning we are left with one day before polling day, this campaign has been really good, brilliant weather and thanks to the podiatrist (whom Grove House Surgery would not refer me, so I had to pay myself, the future of the CONDEM health service) the achilles tendons have held up.

I've lost at least an inch off the waist, so happy daze!

Somethings about campaigning always makes me laugh, my opponents leaflets are always entertaining, I'm sure they find mine equally as riveting (not).

So to the latest leaflet, i'm sure the Lib Dems who claim to have 23 councillors, yet on the Mendip district website the Lib Dem are listed as 20 councillors, so there caption it could be closer seems slightly disingenuous.

I delighted the Lib Dems are fighting the bus cuts, however the Conservatives cuts to our local bus services only replicated the cuts made the then portfolio holder Tim Carroll(lib dem) implemented in 2004/05, a campaign led by Dan Whittle the then Labour candidate for the Wells Constituency managed to reverse.

Then to the Lib dem call for change and keeping your promises, at this point you think credibility is being stretched to braking point.

Twelve months ago when Nick Clegg looked down the barrel of the camera and said he wanted a new politics, little did we know what the new politics was;
in Nick Clegg’s own words to Reuters "My eight-year-old (son) ought to be able to work this out -- you shouldn't start slamming on the brakes when the economy is barely growing. "If you do that you create more joblessness, you create heavier costs on the state, the deficit goes up even further and the pain with dealing with it is even greater. So it is completely irrational." So Broken Promise
When Nick Clegg told you of the secret VAT rise by the Conservatives, he would not support this. Broken Promise This not for deficit reduction but largely to fund corporation cuts to large corporations like BANKS.
When Nick Clegg pledged along with all his Lib Dems promised not to increase tuition fees and then tripled them. More Broken Promises
When Nick Clegg said he supported EMA, then it was savagely cut. More Broken promises
When Nick Clegg promised action against bankers, the coalition are taxing bonuses less this year than under Labour. More Broken Promises
I think you may get the picture that the Lib Dems and promises are not very compatible.
We know the Conservatives are just the same old Tories, one of their minister boasted they were making cuts to public services that Margaret Thatcher could only of dreamt of!
They are planning a wholesale privatisation of the NHS, postponed by the local elections. The wholesale marketisation of Education. The increases of regressive taxes like VAT, same old same old, but these policies can only be implemented with the Lib Dems support.

I glad the lib Dems have highlighted fly tipping, I see this problem has already started with rubble being tipped at Lamberts Hill and the Old Wells rd, a none sense policy by the conservatives of charging for waste disposal. So why if Fly tipping is such a problem, did the Lib Dems fly post their elections posters in town, if you are campaigning on an issue, why do something that leaves you open to the charge of hypocrisy?

The Conservatives management of Mendip is again in question, with the Town Clerk writing to Mendip complaining that customers of having to wait between 15 minutes and 30 minutes for telephone calls to be answered, do MDC have shares in telecommunication companies or have they cut so much a basic service beneath them?

The Time has come for real change.

VOTE INCHLEY, for County, Mendip and Town Councils (in Shepton West)
VOTE GILHAM, for District and Town Councils (in Shepton West)
Vote Hurrell and Towner for Town Council (in Shepton West)
Vote Morgan & Towner in the Mendip Council (in Shepton East)
Vote Morgan and Ashton for Town Council (in Shepton East)