Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Occasionally I stay over in London with friends in North London - then it takes me exactly the same time to get to work despite being 34 miles closer! Now, courtesy of AA Route finder, I discover that if my journey took me to Westminster instead of Canary Wharf, it would be 5 miles less - a mere 35 miles! The fast train from Luton is only 23 minutes, even faster on a good day when it is the right kind of leaves and snow........on such a good day it is possible for me to get door to door in 1 hour and 8 minutes - that means an hour was I to be heading for Westminster.
Now, I am well aware that our hardpressed MPs do occasionally find themselves sitting late in Westminster. I do sympathise, I occasionally find myself sitting late in Westminster, (usually in a local hostelry after FPC ;-)) but unless ridiculously late, I manage to jump on a late night train back to Luton and hop into a cab. Sometimes I have been known to arrive home at 2.30 and leave to return 5 hours later..........But, I agree, not a good idea. And if I am working I am well within my rights to expect my employer to pay for me to stay over in a hotel. As Kelvin Hopkins apparently does, as his fellow Luton MP clearly does not.
So....hat tip to Duncan Borrowman for picking this story up. Having stood against Kelvin Hopkins in the 2005 elections, I know him to be a man of integrity. I may not agree with him on everything, but as I said to the people of Luton North on the night of the elections, they may not have elected a Lib Dem, but they got the next best thing given his record of joining us in the lobbies! Margaret Moran, it appears, is a totally different kettle of fish. She is now my MP and I have already discovered how reluctant she is to engage with us unwashed masses of Luton South. She appears to be universally despised - even my apolitical mum hasn't a good word to say for her. I experienced for myself her obsession with the photo opportunity. Arriving late for the photo call with Operation Black Vote in the last election she was furious that the filming/photos had taken place without her. Clearly her interest was in image and spin, no evidence of any commitment whatsoever to listening to the concerns of the BME community.
So, I was not surprised to hear that she was unable to manage the short train journey from Luton to Westminster - perhaps that is because she spends so little time in Luton, who knows. Some time in the next 15 months we will have an opportunity to show erstwhile Blair babe Ms Moran what the people of Luton South make of her cavalier and self serving attitude.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
But it was and is depressing - whilst we have made strides in terms of better representation in parliament, in terms of gender, ethnicity etc., we still have such a hill to climb. Men, God luv'em, still dominate political debate at every level. I was left wondering if we are banging our heads against a titanium wall - or if we just have to content ourselves that progress will likely mirror that of the ambitious stalagmite's quest to reach the roof of the cave.
That said, all credit to Mike for conceiving of and developing such an important and enlightening resource for all those of us who really appreciate his insightful and truly spinfree analysis.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Nick Clegg took over the leadership with a vision for 150 Lib Dem MP's - Karin accuses us of a paucity of ambition - 150? No way..........if we really want to see transformation in this country I agree, we have to aim higher, we have to talk and think big. We will never achieve any of our goals if we languish in 3rd place. Our policies are the only ones that can truly transform this country, if I didn't believe that, if you didn't believe that, what on earth would we be doing in the Lib Dems?! We would be accepting the dodgy advice of the n'erdowells languishing in the comments pages of Political Betting who think we would be better off defecting to the Tories and Labour!
If all those who said they would vote for us thought we really had a chance and did so, there is no doubt we would be in power within two general elections. People are crying out for change, frankly, with the moral high ground Vince has taken for us on the economy, we should all be out there with our crampons and ropes to take the rest.
At the moment we have a target but from where I sit, no strategy. It is the strategy we need pretty damn quick. The fact is we do have people in the party who have that strategy, I spent yesterday speaking to one of them. The problem is, if as a party we are to embrace that strategy we have to loose our grip on outdated, stale and tired campaigning. We have to dump the mantra "but we've always done it this way and its always worked and anyway the Tories are copying us so it must be right", we have to be ready to obey Nick's injunction - risky and radical........not only in terms of policy, but perhaps more importantly - strategy.
The results of Labour's mismanagement is leading to total despair and ruin for so many. In particular the life chances of our young people are being blighted - 40% of the unemployed are 16-24. People are losing their livelihoods, their homes, are in mental distress and in some cases are taking their lives. Change is not an option it is an imperative. And crocodile tears apologist Cameron has absolutely NO answers. We do, we can, we will!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Well, I for one welcome this idea. Having had some involvement with them, I always enjoyed the annual gatherings - what an encouragement to see so many young people excited and enthused about politics! And I well recall banging on about the fact that given parliament was in recess at the time it seemed a perfect opportunity to take over the green benches.
We all have a responsibility to promote democratic engagement in this country, if this can be enhanced by allowing our young people to convene in parliament........why should anyone object?.......unless of course they are scared witless......
Monday, March 09, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Richard Wilkinson makes a strong argument for addressing inequality. He believes that more equal societies produce better health and happiness for all of us, not just the poor. He describes how improving the distribution of wealth contributes to lower crime rates, lower disease rates and less anxiety about status. When ever will we get it?
"We are very concerned about this development, as we could be forced to give back some of the money we have received in donations.
"Without these funds our whole borough unitary election campaign could be placed in jeopardy and we may even have to leave our brand new campaign offices in Hassett Street.
"This news could not have come at a worse time, after all the divisions and infighting we have had to endure locally over the past few months.
"It's no wonder people are concerned that we could end up in third place behind the Liberal Democrats at the next General Election"
Conference regrets that:
Gordon Brown has been able to find in the region of £1.3 trillion to bail out the private sector banks but is apparently unable to find the £1.5 billion necessary to invest in public sector Royal Mail.
The government is happy to subsidise private companies providing public services such as the rail companies, but unwilling to do the same for Royal Mail.
Conference notes that:
Almost 90% of the public oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail.
That other public services such as the police and social services are not expected to “break even” and are funded almost exclusively from the public purse.
Conference is concerned that:
· Even part privatisation will create a situation in which the private sector takes the profitable part of the operation and leaves the tax payer to take care of the rest
· The result of privatisation will be to create postal service black holes as the private sector cuts services to remote and areas that are difficult to access
Conference calls for:
The government to recognise the vital public service role of the Royal Mail and to invest at a level to enable it to operate effectively.
To ensure that there is a level playing field for Royal Mail and that legislation is reviewed in order to enable them to compete in a fair market, without one hand tied behind their back.