Friday, 30 November 2012

Latest from the Wealden Line Campaign

Good read:

http://www.wealdenline.co.uk/the-news/211-rail-professional-features-brighton-main-line-2.html

http://content.yudu.com/A1zxn1/RPDec12/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.railpro.co.uk%2F%2520

English Democrats humiliated by UKIP (and the BNP).

So much for English Democrats' boasts.

Rotherham by-election result:


  • Sarah Champion (Lab) 9,866 (46.25%, +1.62%)
  • Jane Collins (UKIP) 4,648 (21.79%, +15.87%)
  • Marlene Guest (BNP) 1,804 (8.46%, -1.96%)
  • Yvonne Ridley (Respect) 1,778 (8.34%)
  • Simon Wilson (Cons) 1,157 (5.42%, -11.32%)
  • David Wildgoose (Eng Dem) 703 (3.30%)
  • Simon Copley (Ind) 582 (2.73%, -3.58%)
  • Michael Beckett (Lib Dems) 451 (2.11%, -13.87%)
  • Ralph Dyson (TUSC) 261 (1.22%)
  • Paul Dickson (Ind) 51 (0.24%)
  • Clint Bristow (ND) 29 (0.14%)
The English Passport blog forecast (or the bookmakers are always correct!).

Rotherham By-Election – English Democrats, Respect, UKIP and Labour – the last 4

Rotherham By-Election - English Democrats, Respect, UKIP and Labour - the last 4
The bookies for the Rotherham have had a very difficult election to keep tabs on. William Hill have closed their books for the second time. However, the final four going into Election Day are English Democrats, Respect, UKIP and Labour.
Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and indeed BNP and Greens are history in Rotherham.
It's going to be a very interesting count !


And this little gem:

On the 2 November 1967, a historic moment to place in British Politics when the Scottish National Party won a By-Election, Hamilton by-election, in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, it was a milestone in the politics of Scotland. Although Robert McIntyre of the Scottish National Party (SNP) had won and briefly held the Motherwell constituency in a by-election during the last months of World War II, in April–July 1945, it was Winnie Ewing's victory in the Hamilton constituency which propelled the SNP, Scottish independence and devolution to the top of the agenda in Scotland.
On 29 November 2012, there is the potential for an equal historic moment to take place in British Politics when the English Democrats are set to win the Rotherham By-Election in South Yorkshire, if this occurs, it will be a milestone in the politics of England, and victory by David Wildgoose would propel the English Democrats, self determination for the English People and devolution for England to the top of the agenda in England.
It is only hoped that Nick Robinson, the Chief Political Editor of the BBC, takes the time to read the English Democrats Manifesto, before the 29 November 2012, so that if David Wildgoose and the English Democrats are successful on Thursday 29 November 2012, Nick Robinson does not look a complete arse, when he discusses the English Democrats party, with Mr Dimbleby.


Not forgetting:


RESPECT & ENGLISH DEMOCRATS FIGHT IT OUT IN ROTHERHAM AS LABOUR SET TO FINISH THIRD IN BY-ELECTION


2 Votes

Respect & English Democrats fight it out in Rotherham as Labour set to finish Third in By-Election
Labour is set to lose the English Seat of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, however it is unclear as to whether the eventual winner will be the Respect Candidate Yvonne Ridley or the English Democrats candidate David Wildgoose. The by-election (which will be held on 29 November) was triggered by Scot Denis MacShane’s resignation over false invoices, Labour will not doubt be punished as a result. The disastrous Labour campaign began at the Labour selection meeting in Rotherham, half of the members present walked out in protest at the party’s failure to include a local figure on the shortlist. This left fewer than 50 to vote on the selection of Sarah Champion, who defeated the only other person on the list, former RAF Wing Commander Sophy Gardner.
The walkout was staged by supporters of Mahroof Hussain, a prominent local councillor who was the preferred choice of the membership. As is standard for by-elections, the shortlist was drawn up by Labour’s National Executive Committee, rather than a local selection committee, which chose not to include Hussain.
Two way Labour Split
The Labour vote has therefore been split in two ways firstly the Respect candidate Yvonne Ridley, a former journalist who famously converted to Islam after her capture by the Taliban, will be taking Labour votes from the ethnic community in Rotherham in a hope to repeat her party’s triumph in Bradford West earlier this year, where George Galloway was re-elected to Westminster.
Secondly there is strain on the Labour “patriotic” vote from the English Democrats local Candidate David Wildgoose, who has stood in Rotherham, three times before in 1992, 1994 and 1997, a local man, with friends and family in Rotherham he previously achieved 29.7% of the vote in 1994. The campaign of English Democrat David Wildgoose was given a dramatic boast on 15 November 2012 when the English Democrats achieved 2nd place in Rotherham in the Police & Crime Commissioner Elections with 5,034 votes 15.72% of the vote.
Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP are all at risk of loosing their deposits as the main three parties in Rotherham fight it out – result in one week’s time.
Just loved this one:


And this..
Only David Wildgoose and the English Democrats can beat Labour in the Rotherham Parliamentary By-Election on Thursday 29 November 2012.Vote David Wildgoose – English Democrats to give England a voice in Parliament.

English Democrats is the English Nationalist Party in England

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Oops a daisy.

Whilst eyes in the UK are focussed on the Leveson Report and to a lesser extent on the Rotherham by-election, there are rumblings in Euroland.  The ink has hardly dried on the agreement to to deal with the debt crisis in Greece, yet here we have the IMF threatening to take its ball home and private investors screaming blue murder.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9712612/Greek-deal-frays-as-IMF-threatens-walk-out-on-debt-buy-back-impasse.html

Nothing like transparency.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9713651/ECB-wins-case-to-conceal-Greek-debt-secrets.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-parliament-votes-to-approve-new-greece-aid-package-a-870259.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9715789/Moodys-downgrades-ESM-and-EFSF.htm
Mon Dieu.

Update: 2nd December:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9717121/Debt-crisis-Angela-Merkel-does-not-rule-out-Greek-haircut-in-the-future.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9717622/Cyprus-bail-out-doubts-over-Russian-money-laundering.html

Meanwhile: Spain

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Spain_Now_Faces_a_Systemic,_Societal,_and_Sovereign_Collapse/22833/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Rotherham: UKIP's 'Orpington'?

In 1962 the Liberal Party had a famous by-election victory over the  Conservatives at Orpington. Commentators identify this victory as the start of the revival of the Liberal Party.  There were many false dawns after 1962, but merger with the SDP to form the Liberal Democrats strengthened the party.

The Liberal party had a few MPS before the events of 1962, but mostly in the 'Celtic fringes', apart from two seats which were the subject of an electoral pact with the Conservatives (Bolton and Huddersfield).

UKIP has no MPs, but it does have a number of MEPs.  It is not strong in local government, but it has been strengthening its electoral base in recent years.  Will Rotherham be the 'breakthrough' as Brighton was for the Green Party?   The Labour majority will be hard to overturn, although the party has had problems with the candidate selection process which might assist Respect.  The issue of two foster parents having children taken away from them by Rotherham Council on the grounds that the parents belonged to UKIP has caused outrage across the political spectrum.  Will this be reflected in the vote today?  Will disaffected Conservatives vote UKIP as a protest much as they voted Liberal in Orpington in 1962?  We shall know soon enough.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100191811/ukip-are-libertarian-theyre-also-conservative-pro-free-trade-and-anti-mass-immigration-and-theyre-coherent/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9708791/Could-this-be-Ukips-day.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/9710762/Foster-row-Labour-faces-challenge-from-Ukip-in-Rotherham-by-election.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100192106/tonight-ukip-have-a-chance-to-show-the-world-theyre-more-than-just-a-protest-vote-for-angry-tories/

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/11/could-labour-lose-rotherham-election

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2173/whatever_happens_today_ukip_is_breaking_new_ground

Update: 30th November.

A good showing by UKIP.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9713243/Ukip-takes-second-place-in-by-elections.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100192252/after-rotherham-ukip-is-now-a-national-populist-party-a-magnet-for-anger-at-the-british-establishment/

http://blogs.channel4.com/michael-crick-on-politics/after-rotherham-ukip-aims-to-top-the-2014-euro-poll/2031

More updates:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9715909/Ukip-may-yet-gatecrash-the-private-party.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2241257/UKIPs-shelter-politically-homeless-disenchanted-voters-abandon-Tories-Labour.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9717394/Ukip-deserves-to-be-taken-seriously-after-by-elections-surge-says-Vince-Cable.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-rise-and-rise-of-ukip--the-new-party-of-the-protest-voter-8373871.html

http://www.nucleus.uk.net/subscription-confirmed/item/nobody-can-stop-ukip-now

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/world/europe/nigel-farages-anti-eu-message-finds-fans.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0






Monday, 26 November 2012

Rotherham

My memories of Rotherham consist mostly of gazing out of the train window on the approaches to Rotherham Masborough station when travelling between Leeds and Sheffield in the 1960s.  The whole route was taken up with vistas of railway sidings and junctions, collieries, steel works, iron foundries, heavy engineering, dirty rivers and canals.

Rotherham was not a destination of choice, much better attractions were to be found in Sheffield, but in those days that was not saying much.

Rotherham FC sold Keith Kettleborough to Sheffield United in 1960 and after a rocky start he became a fixture in the Blades team. I recall vividly the game between United and Wednesday at Bramall Lane during which Kettleborough and Tony Kay had a running battle. (United won with a goal in the last minute scored by Derek 'Doc' Pace.)  I braved the journey to Rotherham a few times in the 1967-68 season when the football club brought in Tommy Docherty as manager to save the club from relegation - he failed.

Rotherham, like many towns, is not often in the news and doubtless it would have remained so had it not been for the controversies surrounding the parliamentary by-election.




Sunday, 25 November 2012

More EU jottings

To be added to:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9701846/Spain-to-get-35bn-in-aid-as-Eurogroup-meets-to-agree-Greek-aid.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9702032/Boris-drops-his-demand-for-an-in-out-referendum-on-Europe.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/germany-remains-adamant-in-refusal-to-forgive-greek-debt-a-869300.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9703842/David-Cameron-the-EU-rebate-will-stay-as-long-as-Im-Prime-Minister.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9704644/EU-IMF-agrees-deal-to-cut-Greek-debt-by-40bn.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/euro-zone-finance-ministers-avert-greek-bankruptcy-in-marathon-talks-a-869487.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9706702/Debt-deal-secures-Greeces-place-in-eurozone-says-PM-Antonis-Samaras.html
Well he would!

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/greece-aid-deal-to-cost-germany-billions-in-revenues-a-869706.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/independence-push-in-catalonia-still-a-problem-say-commentators-a-869532.html

28th November:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9709037/Tony-Blair-David-Camerons-position-on-Europe-risks-monumental-error.html


In or out?

Some Conservative MPs are stepping up the pressure on David Cameron to offer the great British public an 'in-or-out' referendum on EU membership.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9700867/Tories-cheer-Cameron-in-Europe-and-demand-referendum.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9700903/Mark-Pritchard-Only-an-in-out-referendum-will-do.html

Doubtless Cameron's deputy, Nick Clegg, will support this, won't he?   After all his party put this out at the last general election:



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Spotlight on SS

The current furore over the decision of  the Social Services Department of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to take three children away from foster parents on the grounds that the parents were members of UKIP has focused again the spotlight on the activities of social services departments.

Usually press interest has been in the failure of departments to take children out of risk who have died as  a consequence.

On the face of it the decision taken in Rotherham had nothing to do with the physical safety of the children, but it would be unwise to consider what has happened as being an isolated case of  ill-judged opinion, stupidity, political correctness or political ignorance.

Christopher Booker has been commentating for years in the Sunday Telegraph on the activities of social services departments: snatching children from parents with active police connivance.  The work of family courts also has come under Booker's scrutiny: the lengths the courts will go to to prevent publicity and the too ready acceptance of the opinions of social workers.

The hope must be that the events in Rotherham will lead to a wider investigation of the power of, and its abuse, by social services departments as well as open to scrutiny decisions of family courts.


English Democrats over-excited by bookies' odds

I note that Steve Uncles and Chris Beverley have become somewhat excited by the odds offered by William Hill:





I wonder why these two English Democrat bloggers have not mentioned the odds offered by Ladbrokes?


Friday, 23 November 2012

Yippee!!

Germany sided with the UK against France.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9699264/EU-summit-budget-talks-collapse-as-David-Cameron-says--non-to-Brussels.html

See also:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9699134/EU-leaders-accuse-Cameron-of-sabotaging-budget-deal.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9699877/French-threat-to-UK-rebate-as-EU-budget-talks-collapse.html 
See also:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2237622/Why-listen-country-imploding-economy-drag-Europe-it.html

On time and within budget

The test of success  for any major infrastructure project is quite simple: on time and within budget.  There was a time when the UK was regarded as incapable of passing the test, but not any more:  the Olympic buildings and transport infrastructure came on line on time and within budget.  Not only that, they worked.

Compare and contrast with Germany, at one time lauded for its efficiency.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/spiegel-investigation-how-the-new-berlin-airport-project-fell-apart-a-868283.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-rail-warns-of-delays-due-to-siemens-delivery-problems-a-868763.html

Oh dear.






Europe Update

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/british-prime-minister-cameron-faces-tough-talks-on-eu-budget-a-868653.html

Cameron dubbed as 'Mr No.'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9697082/Latest-eurozone-PMI-figures-suggest-downturn-deepening.html

Gloomy economic news.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/20/cameron-uk-contribution-eu-budget

EU Summit update


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/9698054/EU-talks-risk-collapse-as-Britain-and-France-battle-over-rebate.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/european-union-leaders-in-brussels-fail-to-reach-agreement-on-budget-a-868872.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/9699063/Nick-Clegg-friend-calls-for-end-of-Britains-EU-budget-rebate.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20459398

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9699985/Eurozone-confidence-returning-says-Mario-Draghi.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9700426/Merkel-rival-warns-of-impact-of-Greek-default.html





Tuesday, 20 November 2012

No to female bishops

The General Synod of the Church of England has decided, by a few votes in the House of Laity, not to admit women to the episcopacy.  I cannot claim to hold strong views on the issue of women becoming bishops but I rejoice in the fact that the so-called 'liberals' have received a bloody nose.  The issue could have been resolved in favour of women bishops had the supporters of the proposition been prepared to be more magnanimous to opponents.  Two distinguishing marks of Church of England 'liberals' are the demands for uniformity and conformity to their views.  These are characteristic traits of political correctness and spurious 'equality' claims.

No doubt the supporters of women bishops will start creating mischief in the political arena.   My hope is that as the battle line between conscience of faith  and secular equality is drawn the scope of the battle is extended to other faiths.  Now, who is going to stand up for women's rights in the Islamic faith and in mosques?    I bet it won't be the Church of England 'liberals', nor their political allies.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9689903/Crisis-as-Church-of-England-votes-against-women-bishops.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100190711/no-to-women-bishops-the-church-of-england-votes-for-civil-war/

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100190726/women-bishops-the-anglican-church-is-paralysed-by-its-conflicting-obsessions-of-equality-and-consensus/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9692494/Women-bishops-Churchs-final-no.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9693229/David-Cameron-Church-needs-to-get-with-the-programme-after-rejecting-women-bishops.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9696634/Sketch-The-Church-receives-orders-from-a-higher-power.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9693284/Women-bishops-a-failure-of-leadership.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9703820/Half-of-women-bishops-opponents-in-Synod-were-women.html

Monday, 19 November 2012

Eurozone and Greece

The problem of agreeing the EU budget is dwarfed by the ongoing saga of the protection of the euro and the 'imposition' of austerity in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Italy: the likelihood of Cyprus and Spain requiring bailouts and the deteriorating French economy.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/french-credit-rating-downgraded-amid-doubts-over-reform-path-a-868203.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/iainmartin1/100190537/milibands-french-model-is-looking-sickly/


Back to Greece:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9686251/Merkels-day-of-reckoning-as-taxpayer-haircut-on-Greece-looms.html


http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/economist-sinn-warns-against-current-euro-crisis-course-a-868005.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/accounting-tricks-in-berlin-impede-greece-bailout-strategy-a-868085.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/fresh-greek-aid-coalition-parties-demand-clarity-from-merkel-a-868121.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/commentary-on-germany-s-trouble-with-the-truth-about-greece-a-868125.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9688405/Worst-is-over-for-euro-says-Spanish-PM-Rajoy.html
Twerp.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9689396/Eurozone-leaders-remain-split-over-Greek-debt-ahead-of-key-meeting.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20398695

UPDATE: 20 November.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9691682/Debt-crisis-EU-leaders-warn-Greeces-aid-could-be-delayed.html

UPDATE 21 November

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9692225/Eurozone-finance-ministers-fail-to-agree-Greek-debt-deal.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/euro-zone-and-imf-fail-to-agree-on-path-forward-for-greek-debt-crisis-a-868463.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9694299/Eurozone-stability-depends-on-Greece-talks-warns-Samaras.html
Anyone for poker?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/tacit-bond-arrangement-between-governments-and-banks-endangers-system-a-868971.html
Interesting article.


UK and the EU

In the lead up to the EU Summit in Brussels this Thursday the pro and anti EU forces are flexing their muscles.  Will the EU Summit be a staging post on the road to a UK referendum on the terms of membership/withdrawal from the EU?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9687470/Plans-for-EU-budget-without-Britain-a-slap-in-the-face.html
Should this happen what price UK membership of the EU?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9687187/Not-a-single-penny-more-for-the-EUs-begging-bowl.html
Typical Boris humour.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/9687876/CBI-chief-warns-UK-against-EU-exit-vote.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9687422/Leaving-the-EU-would-be-an-economic-disaster-Ken-Clarke-has-said.html

http://www.nucleus.uk.net/subscription-confirmed/item/veto-or-bust-the-tories-demand-their-handbag-moment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9688281/David-Cameron-is-told-to-call-an-EU-referendum-by-2014.html
Davis plan.  But see:

http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/2870-davis-referendum-plan-prolongs-the-eu-agony


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9686866/Be-as-strong-as-Thatcher-on-EU-Boris-tells-PM.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/9688936/David-Camerons-non-policy-on-Europe-is-the-worst-of-all-worlds.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/british-wavering-on-the-eu-could-ultimately-lead-to-its-withdrawal-a-868254.html
Ratty article, not up to Spiegel's standard.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9691965/Our-EU-bills-could-still-rise-560m-despite-budget-freeze.html

Update 21st November:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9693186/David-Cameron-threatens-veto-over-EU-budget-rebate.html

Update 9th December:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9732677/David-Cameron-to-offer-inout-referendum-on-EU-Boris-says.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/9720865/EU-Boris-Johnson-attacks-David-Cameron-and-George-Osborne-for-morally-wrong-policies.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9732009/Liam-Fox-draws-up-Tory-battle-lines-on-Europe.html

UPDATE: 11th December

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100193736/like-tantric-sex-our-wait-for-a-european-policy-goes-on-and-on/










Oh dear

My avid reader will recall that recently I was subjected to a nasty attack on the English Passport blog for which I have sought an apology.

The following is the 'apology' I received. It does not address to my satisfaction the issue in contention.  Party membership is irrelevant.



Just for the record:  I have been a member of the Conservative Party for past five years.

Friday, 16 November 2012

More bad news for Tunbridge Wells

The Tunbridge Wells Town Plan Advisory Panel recommended that the Council should support the re-opening of the Uckfield-Lewes rail link and also the line between Eridge and Tunbridge Wells.

See: http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/tunbridge-wells-town-plan-advisory_19.html

A threat has emerged to the trackbed in Tunbridge Wells concerning which I posted the following:

http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/latest-news-from-wealden-line-campaign.html

So what has been the reaction of the Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to this threat to a through route linking West Kent with East Sussex and Brighton?

From today's Courier newspaper:

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is not necessarily in the market for buying land adjacent to railways which have no investment value.

The leader of the Wealden Line Campaign, Brian Hart, responded:

That was  a shameful thing to say.

At the very least one might have expected Councillor Jukes to reiterate the importance of protecting the trackbed from housing development and to work with other organisations to ensure this happens.  He could have added his support for the re-opening of the line.  But no, all we hear is more negativity.

It all adds to the charge sheet against our councillors  who give the impression of being hell-bent on making Royal Tunbridge Wells a backwater: indeed a monument to political mediocrity.  No drive, no ambition, no vision, no action.

UPDATE:

http://www.bml2.co.uk/the-news/94-story-ministers-facing-questions-over-embarrassing-rail-land-sale.html












Kent PCC election result

It would be churlish not to congratulate Ann Barnes on her victory in yesterday's Kent Police and Crime Commissioner election.




The test for her now is to deliver on her pledges. She will be the subject of far greater scrutiny now she is holding an elected position as distinct from the appointed position she held as chairman of the Police Authority.  What she and the Chief Constable need to get to grips with is that it is not normal service being resumed.

A reminder of her manifesto:


I note that Steve Uncles came a poor fifth in the election and that his result was the poorest of the English Democrats standing in England for the PCC elections. His campaign against Barnes failed in spectacular fashion and one can but hope that he learns from this that a campaign of denigration is not the way to gain votes.

The Conservatives mounted a woeful campaign.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Doom laden articles

As readers of my Facebook page know I am a bringer of joy and happiness, well  maybe not!

The links below take you to two trenchant articles which fill me with foreboding and gloom.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9680554/Like-it-or-not-Beijing-and-Berlin-must-pay.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9681868/1930s-medicine-pushes-Europe-back-into-double-dip-recession.html






PCCs and PACT

It has been amusing to hear and read the comments of candidates for the PCC elections expounding on the importance of keeping in touch with people to ascertain their views on policing issues.  In sonorous terms candidates have explained how they will test the pulse of communities.

But hang on, the last Labour Government introduced, through the Home Office, Partner(ships) and Communities Together, known as PACT. Police forces established PACTs (in Ashford, Kent alone there were/are over 13 of these) and were responsible for their administration.  The idea was for policing issues at community level to be identified by inviting the public to attend meetings along with organisations in the locality: housing associations, local authorities, councillors, community groups, etc.

In fact PACT often is wrongly understood to mean Police and Communities Together.  The remit of PACTs extends to other issues -  examples:  environmental concerns, public transport, health issues

The problem is that many PACTs have not worked well.  Attendance of organisations and the public is often poor and some are hijacked by individuals pushing there own agenda.

Like a lot of 'good ideas' for consultation drawn up by civil servants and local government officers, they fail at the first hurdle, the unwillingness of the public to engage. One reason for this is that PACTs became just one more meeting to attend . No decisions taken, little reporting back on resolution of issues equals waste of time attending.

When Local Involvement Networks were established in Kent I suggested that rather than establish a new machinery for engagement with the public the PACTs should have taken on consultation on health issues.  At least it would have avoided another round of meetings.

Public engagement and consultation is a chimera: it won't happen if the process is a dull meeting in a community centre or church hall.  What is needed is a meeting which is not a talking shop, but one which reaches conclusions and sets specific time scales for reporting back by statutory organisations on progress achieved to resolve issues or reasons why progress cannot be achieved.  Sadly parish councils can be part of the problem of unsatisfactory engagement as PACTs can represent a threat.








Tunbridge Wells Regeneration Company hits the buffers.

It comes as no surprise that the regeneration company is to be dissolved.

See: http://www2.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=4998

The writing was on the wall from the moment Roy Bullock was ousted as Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and  re-development of the civic centre put into deep freeze.

The Aspic Brigade will be delighted no doubt  by the news, but in the future where will the impetus for re-development come from?  One can have little confidence that the politicians running the borough  will be up to the task ahead. A recent press report quoted one retailer as stating that the town was dying.  Many town centres are facing retail problems with the expansion of out-of-town and Internet shopping. What is being done to bring other attractions to the town?

There has been talk of Royal Tunbridge Wells becoming the cultural centre for West Kent and part of East Sussex .  However, that is all it is: talk.   Where are the plans for a new theatre/ concert/conference venue along the lines of the new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury?  The Aspic Brigade believes modifications to the Assembly Hall will do. They won't.  The museum needs a larger building and should seek to become the Museum of Kent to attract visitors.

It is no use the Council developing a 'cultural vision' without something to back it up.

Meanwhile, the Odeon cinema site, slap bang in the middle of the town, has been an eyesore for 12 years, a monument to inaction.

Major opportunities have been lost.  The former railway goods yard has been given over to blocks of flats whilst the former hospital site is to be developed for housing.  Each site could have been developed in a much more imaginative way, but then, if you elect dullards do not expect vision and action.

Royal Tunbridge Wells is becoming a monument to political mediocrity.




Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner election

The time as I write is 17.00 on Tuesday 13th November.  On 15th November the election will be held for the position of Kent Police and Crime Commissioner. I have not received an election 'communication' from any of the candidates - the first time in 45 years that I have not received anything from any of the candidates at an election.

Admittedly, I have been following the election on the Internet, perusing the candidates' websites, as well as watching the videos of the hustings.  Many people either do not have Internet access, or if they have, do not necessarily use it to seek out the views of the candidates.

I can understand the  problems English Democrats and the two Independents have is delivering election leaflets across Kent. What has surprised me is that I have not received a Labour,Conservative or UKIP leaflets as these three parties distributed leaflets in abundance at the May local elections.

I know the Conservatives have been delivering leaflets.  One Conservative councillor has been out and about in Sherwood and I espied a Conservative councillor in Langton making deliveries.

UPDATE:  Received an election address from the Conservative candidate late this afternoon, Wednesday 14th November.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Greek debt storm


The Telegraph's Brussels correspondent Bruno Waterfield reports:
The Eurozone’s finance ministers have a big problem tonight: no one can agree on how much Greece is going to cost or who should pay.
The EU and IMF troika is completely split over how to deal with the fact that Greece will not make a debt “sustainability” target of 120 pc of GDP by 2020.
Estimates for how the target will actually work out vary wildly from 145pc to 125/30pc.
If Greek debt is unsustainable then the IMF is out of the aid programme for Greece increasing the burden for the eurozone and dealing a hammer blow to the EU’s credibility.
The fight between the IMF and the EU has been described as “total war” and represents the biggest test for the eurozone since the onset of the crisis three years ago.
If Greek debt is to be sustainable, keeping the IMF on board, then the EU is going to have to write off debts, opposed by the ECB and Germany and give Greece more time, which costs money.
Germany is keen to delay as long as possible (as with Spain) because as decision is going to cost the German taxpayer, the ECB is opposed to taking a hit on Greek debt and the IMF to throwing more of Washington’s money after bad in Greece.
The precondition of agreeing the next instalment for Greece is the troika report and the precondition for having a troika report is to thrash out the above meaning tonight’s meeting is a battle between Wolfgang Schaeuble, Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde.
Without agreement from the German finance minister, the ECB chief and the head of the IMF the troika report for tonight’s discussion is restricted to “technical boxes”.
“Greece is broke. Someone is going to have to pay but no one wants to take the responsibility. They will fudge,” said a senior diplomat.

See also:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/euro-group-chief-juncker-says-troika-report-on-greece-positive-a-866721.html
Really!!??......read on.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9673043/Greece-will-need-32.6bn-if-Troika-agrees-to-bailout-extension.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9673271/Debt-crisis-Leaders-stall-at-32bn-bill-for-Greece.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9674059/IMF-chief-and-EU-clash-over-Greek-debt.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/eu-and-imf-disagree-about-sustainability-of-greek-debt-load-a-866973.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20311701

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9676055/Debt-crisis-Greek-debt-auction-averts-imminent-default.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9675867/Greece-says-bail-out-will-put-drachmaphobia-to-rest.html


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Tunbridge Wells dying?

According to  a retailer in Royal Tunbridge Wells the town is dying, its life blood cut off by increasing traffic congestion, made worse by the installation of traffic lights on Pembury Road.  Retailers in the retail park are concerned that gridlock on the roads within the park is having a negative effect on customer numbers.  How much easier to drive to Bluewater.

A contentious  issue is that of parking charges.  I note that Sevenoaks has decided to lift parking charges in the run up to Christmas.

  http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/sevenoaks_cabinet_agrees_to_free_christmas_parking_1_1688506

Back in the town centre the old Odeon cinema is a bleak reminder of dither over the years and  failure of Conservative administrations to move forward the development of the town.  The 'policy' of the Council is that nothing can be done regarding the civic complex until the Odeon site issues have been resolved. Should the current owners fail to develop the site there has been talk of compulsory purchase.

At least Roy Bullock tried to break the log-jam and was thanked by being ousted as Leader of the Council and then deselected as a candidate. Neither his immediate successor, Bob Atwood, who lost his Council seat last May, nor the latest incumbent, David Jukes, seems to have any strategy worthy of the name. Meanwhile the town continues to die.

Not good enough.






Friday, 9 November 2012

Battlegrounds looming

So, Germany wants to inspect the the health of the French economy and doubtless give advice on what should be done to improve the health of the latter's economy.  A distinct frost in the Berlin/Paris relationship.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9667687/German-risks-rift-with-France-over-economic-healthcheck-demands.html

Note the language: 'demands'.

Meanwhile:

lhttp://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/top-german-and-eu-politicians-blast-britain-and-france-over-budget-a-866352.html

Note the language again. 'Berlin and Brussels demand more from London and Paris'. Why on earth should the EC make demands on sovereign states?  A glimpse into the future of a federal Europe? A foretaste of 'ever closer union'?

Battle commences:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9668841/EU-budget-talks-collapse-following-rows-over-funding-increase.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20269373
Talks 'acrimonious'.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9669458/EU-funding-crisis-as-talks-collapse.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/9670365/Weve-been-on-the-back-foot-with-the-EU-ever-since-we-joined.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9673547/Angela-Merkel-sticks-to-austerity-script-in-Portugal-as-revolt-builds.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/german-chancellor-met-with-protests-during-first-portugal-visit-a-866925.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9676707/Anti-austerity-strikes-launched-in-Eurozone.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/greek-mayors-refuse-to-send-athens-lists-of-employees-to-lay-off-a-867060.html

http://www.itv.com/news/2012-11-14/an-important-day-and-not-just-because-of-the-general-strikes/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9679076/Europeans-vent-their-anger-as-cuts-bite.html




Police Chief Elections 15 November

The prosaic name for the new police chiefs is Police and Crime Commissioners.  I don't like the use of the word 'commissioner' as it brings to mind people council officers who commission services and is not far removed from the hotel doorman.

Never mind, let us hope the new PCCs are not doormats for chief constables.  At the very least they will be an improvement on the unelected chairs of police committees and the other unelected members of police authorities.  Much rubbish has been spoken about the need for 'independent' as opposed to political party backed commissioners.  Any person elected on a party label will find out soon enough that toeing a party line is the quickest way to losing credibility and support.  The Mayor of London has shown independence of thought and action even though elected on a party label.

The problem in Kent is that  the candidates are an insipid bunch, apart from the UKIP candidate, Piers Wauchope who is a barrister specialising in criminal law.  One of the Independents, Ann Barnes, is lively but suffers from the charge of hypocrisy as she was until recently the chair of the Kent Police Authority and a leading opponent of the introduction of commissioners.

The Conservative candidate is an accountant and sounds like one.  Two of the other candidates are worthy but uninspiring.  One is the Labour candidate. a leading figure in union and national Labour Party circles and the other, an Independent, a  former Mayor of Medway.

Finally we have the English Democrat candidate, Steve Uncles, who has featured often on this blog. 'Nuff said.

Free school for Edenbridge?

The plan to open a secondary free school in 2013 has foundered on lack of demand.  However, a mini-baby boom could result in the potential pupil numbers stacking up for a 2015 intake.  Where would a school be located?  Finding a site, planning permission and building work all take time, so the steering group backed by the Harris Foundation will have to get its skates on.

See:

http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Baby-boom-bring-new-school/story-17275772-detail/story.html




Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Much to ponder........

France and Greece in the spotlight:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9656984/IMF-warns-over-taxed-France-risks-slipping-behind-Italy-and-Spain.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/9658301/France-announces-20bn-worth-of-tax-breaks.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9659504/Francois-Hollande-lurches-Right-in-historic-U-Turn-to-save-French-economy.html
Ooops!!


Greek crunch day tomorrow.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/strikes-cripple-greece-ahead-of-austerity-vote-in-parliament-a-865609.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9658185/Greece-gripped-by-48-hour-austerity-strikes.html?frame=2389912
Photos

Problems for Merkel?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/media-commentators-on-merkel-adoption-of-expensive-new-programs-a-865640.html

Do as I say, not as I do. See also:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/economic-experts-warn-merkel-against-extra-spending-a-865890.html


Finally, EU keeps to the form book.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9657673/Audit-seriously-undermines-credibility-of-EU-spending.html









Past Watering Holes (6)

Giving directions to strangers often entails mention of landmarks: pubs, churches, shops, etc.  However pub closures, followed by change of use or demolition, has made the task of providing clear directions much more difficult.  The bewildering speed at which pub names are changed is a further trap for the unwary.

Many years ago a friend was visiting me and caught the bus from Chesterfield to Newbold.  I told him to alight at the Cross Daggers.  The pub had been demolished and replaced by a block of flats some years previously but the bus stop was known to locals, bus drivers and conductors at Cross Daggers.  My friend caught the bus and was berated by the conductor for still being on the bus after it had passed the stop!

Newbold has two pubs which face each other: the Nags Head and the Wheatsheaf.

The Nags Head sold Mansfield  Bitter.  Mansfield Brewery closed some years ago and has been demolished.  The landlord was Jack Keeton.  A character: a visit to the pub to hear him in full flow provided an evening of entertainment, quite apart from the excellent beer.



I was in the pub one evening and a young couple were sitting as far away from the bar as was possible.  They engaged in an energetic 'snogging' session. Not for long though.  Jack was over to them in a flash and enquired in a loud voice: " which position is that in the Kama Sutra?"  

Across the road from the Nags Head stands the Wheatsheaf which at one time sold the legendary Barnsley Bitter to be followed by John Smith's.  The old Wheatsheaf was demolished in 1965 to be replaced by a typical 'estate' pub.  The atmosphere created in the old pub by the 'regulars' did not transfer to the new pub.



In those days closing time was 10.30 pm with an additional ten minutes 'drinking-up' time. On Friday  evenings the local scoutmaster, resplendent in uniform including shorts would arrive between 10.25 and 10.28 and order two pints of bitter which he would down before throwing-out time at 10.40 pm. In the old pub the regulars sometimes would adjust their watches and the landlord his clock  and swear blind to the scoutmaster that he had arrived after time.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

More police-catching criminals

The description of Steve Uncles on the list of candidates for the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner election.

English Democrats - "More Police - Catching Criminals!"

I do hope not. We don't want more criminals catching the police do we?  I prefer more police catching criminals.  

Yes, I know there is a space each side of the hyphen, but why bother a hyphen?