Showing posts from April, 2009

Gurkhas: how they voted

Conservative, Lib/Dem, and nationalist MPs voted for the Gurhkas. The Lib/Dems have told the BBC that the following 28 Labour MPs rebelled against the government over the number of Gurkhas allowed to live in the UK: Dianne Abbott Ian Cawsey Harry Cohen Jeremy Corbyn Paul Farrelly Mark Fisher Neil Gerrard Kate Hoey Kelvin Hopkins Joan Humble Glenda Jackson John McDonnell Shona McIsaac Andrew MacKinlay Gordon Marsden Bob Marshall Andrews Julie Morgan Nick Palmer Stephen Pound Nick Raynsford Andy Reed Linda Riordan Alan Simpson Andrew Smith Paul Truswell Keith Vaz Robert Wareing Mike Wood This list includes several MPs who are normally arch-loyalists but not, interestingly and disappointingly, any of the Labour MPs from Cumbria despite this being a county with strong service connections. Postscript: when the full list came out, we learned that the Labour MPs for Barrow, Carlisle, and Workington voted against the Gurkhas. The MP for Copeland did not vote.

Bye Bye Brown

Iain Dale put You Tube to far better use today than the Prime Minister did a few days ago, calling on the PM to resign and suggesting that people sign the petition to that effect on the Number ten website You can sign the petition here.

David Cameron on today's vote

DC issued the following statement this afternoon: "Today is an historic day where Parliament took the right decision. The basic presumption that people who fight for our country should have a right to come and live in our country has been set out very clearly. And the Government has now got to come back with immediate proposals so that those Gurkhas who have been waiting so long for an answer can have that answer. It can be done, we've set out a way for it to be done so that it doesn't ruin our immigration system and it should be done. "I think that everyone would like to say congratulations to Joanna Lumley for the incredible campaign that she's fought with all these brave Gurkhas, some of them very old and very infirm, coming to Parliament again and again. "The Government attempted a shoddy deal today to try and buy off some of their backbenchers and I'm proud of the fact that it didn't work and I'm proud that Labour joined us all in the lobby a


Delighted to see that the House of Commons defeated Gordon Brown's shabby attempt restrict the rights of Gurkha veterans to settle here. The number of Gurkha veterans and their dependents is small in comparison to the numbers who Labour has already allowed to come here, and they have proved their loyalty to this country. Congratulations to those MPs of all parties - Conservative, Liberal Democrat, nationalist, and Labour rebels - who showed by their votes tonight that there are still people in this country who think that those who risked their lives for Britain should be honoured by Britain.

Let our Gurkha heroes stay

I strongly support the campaigns by The Sun newspaper and others that the heroes of the Gurkha regiment should be allowed British residency. If they were good enough to shed their blood to defend this country, they are good enough to live here. What sort of "Human Rights" legal regime allows murderers like the killer of Headmaster , rapists like Ali Majlat, and hijackers to stay here but refuses to allow people who fought in our armed forces to do so? Like David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, and Joanna Lumley I believe that the government must change the rules to let our Gurkha heroes stay.

Twenty Firsts Meme

First Job Temporary postal clerk at Grenada Publishing, Frogmore, Jan 1980 First Real Job Joined BT (then known as British Telecom) in 1985 as an Assistant Commercial Analyst First Role in Politics Press Officer of St Albans YCs in 1979 First Car An blue mini van which had previously been owned by a fencer and a nurse. On one side it had a sticker which said "Fencing, a modern sport" and on the other one which said "Give Blood" First Record Flanders and Swan "At the drop of another hat." First major sports match attended I watched David Gower's England side win the Ashes at the Oval in 1985 First Concert A joint primary schools music concert in about 1970. First Country Visited France, on a day trip to Boulogne with the school where my mother taught, at the age of 10 F irst TV Appearance "Cross Questions" which is the Anglia TV equivalent of Question Time in about 1984 (In the audience, not on the panel.) First Political Speech At my school&#

What Happened at Spring Forum

Tim Montgomerie at Con Home gave his list of ten things which happened at the Conservative Spring Forum on Saturday and Sunday. My comments (I was there on Saturday) in italics (1) The media have decided that the Conservatives have won the next election. There has long been an expectation of Tory victory but it's become a near certainty because of recent events (particularly the Budget and misuse of expenses). Yesterday's announcement on primary school academies from Michael Gove led bulletins throughout the day. Tory policy matters because the media class has decided that it will be Government policy in a year's time. Regardless of what the media think, we must not take anything for granted. Victory is not certain until the returning officer announces the gain that gives us an overall majority and we cannot afford to be complacent. (2) The Tories have decided that Labour has reached the contempt phase. William Hague predicted in 1997 that New Labour would first produ

A message from David Cameron

The Budget can be summed up in one word: Dishonest. Wednesday was Budget Day. The borrowing figures got the headlines - and rightly so. We're in a new age of austerity yet this Government is trapped in the old age of irresponsibility. Sitting there in the House of Commons listening to the Chancellor tell us he was planning to borrow more in the next two years than all previous governments combined left me open-mouthed. I used to say this Government seems intent on saddling future generations with debt. I was wrong. After this week, they're going to crush them. But, as ever, the real story of Labour's Budgets comes after the Chancellor sits down and you get to unpack truth from fiction. And this year, there was more fiction than normal. Within an hour the IMF had rubbished his growth forecasts, suggesting Labour's Debt Crisis will be even worse. Then their claim that only the rich would carry the burden of their mistakes was dismissed - their tax rises will hit the many

27 February 2032 - is Darling Liberation Day

According to the ITN News, that's how long it will take to pay off the Darling debt. How accurate is this? I don't know for sure, neither do they, and neither does Alistair Darling. But we all know this for certain: ITN are right to point out that dealing with the burden of debt run up by the present government will take a long time.

Happy St George's Day !

A day to celebrate all the positive things about England.

A Dishonest Budget

The chancellor's description of the economic situation was bad enough, but the reality of the fiscal problems which the Labour government is leaving behind is even worse. The Chancellor described the worst recession, fastest rising unemployment, and the worst public finances since the War, but could not describe a credible solution. Even on the Government’s own figures: Over the next two years, the Government will borrow £348bn – more than all governments up to 1997. We will be borrowing £703bn over the next five years – £269bn more than the £434bn forecast in the PBR. The national debt will double again to £1.4trillion. Every baby will now be born owing £22,500. Interest costs have risen again to £43bn a year – more than the schools budget. But the Chancellor's growth predictions look highly optimistic. Within hours of the Budget the IMF predicted an even steeper recession this year and next. And Darling's predictions of 3.5% growth from 2011 onwards look unreasonably hig

Darling should help Pensioners and Savers today

Conservatives want today's budget to include action to: * abolish income tax on savings for basic rate taxpayers * raise the pensioners’ personal allowance to £11,490 Local Tories in West Cumbria joined other Conservatives throughout the country last weekend in hitting the streets to campaign for action in support of Pensioners and Savers in the budget. Conservative campaigners and councillors have been out campaigning throughout the country at the weekend: in Copeland events were organised in Whitehaven, Seascale, and Millom to deliver leaflets . Those taking part included Ray Cole, Conservative county Councillor for Millom, Sue Brown, Conservative county Councillor for Seascale Whicham, and their local teams, and those out in Whitehaven included myself, Councillor Andrew Wonnacott (Hillcrest) and others. Since the disastrous £5 billion pounds a year raid on pensions in the first Labour budget, government policy has been toxic towards saving. By example and by failing to rewar

Why voters are deserting Labour

The Guardian has an interesting page here which has quotes from those interviewed in a recent poll who plan to switch their vote compared with the way they voted in 2005. The switch voters quoted give one line explanations of their reasons for changing. It has three sections, with quotes from those switching from Labour to Conservative, Lib/Dem to Conservative, or Labour to Lib/Dem. No table for those moving in the other directions. If this were a right wing paper that might give rise to accusations of spin, but bearing in mind that this is the Guardian, that presumably means there were not many voters in the survey moving in those directions.

Feedback on Special Neighbourhood Forum

Tonight at Millom School there was a special neighbourhood forum on the nomination of a large area of land near Kirksanton as a possible site for new nuclear build. Very interesting meeting, about a hundred people there, many of whom, while not necessarily anti-nuclear, thought this was the wrong site. A lot of issues raised which will have to be carefully considered. Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7pm at Calderbridge village hall there is a similar meeting to discuss the equivalent nomination of land at Braystones. We are currently in an initial one month consultation period on the nominated sites, which lasts until 14th May. This will not be the last opportunity to comment. You can have your say online at .

Brown v. Nixon

Matthew Parris in The Times commented here at the weekend that the media comparison of Gordon Brown and Richard Nixon is an insult ... to Richard Nixon. His argument is that Nixon had real achievements - going to China, ending the Vietnam War - while Brown merely uses spin to generate newspaper headlines about programmes that never happen or only deliver miniscule results. Trying very hard to be fair to Brown, it seems to me that his legacy will have two major good elements and six bad ones GOOD THINGS 1) Gave the Bank of England control of interest rate and monetary policy , thereby ensuring that the golden economic legacy Brown inherited from Ken Clarke lasted nearly ten years. That's his one major positive acheivement. 2) Stopped Tony from scrapping the Pound: without GB's delaying tactics it is likely that Tony Blair would have scrapped the pound and bounced Britain into the Euro before it became obvious that this would have been a really bad idea. BAD THINGS 1) Wrecked P

Smith should resign

The last holder of public office in this country who tried to have opposition MPs arrested for embarrassing the goverment was King Charles the first. The Home Secretary would be wise to reflect on what happened to him. If you want an indication of how little Labour has learned from the past week, you need look no further than the fact that Jacqui Smith was still trying to attack Damian Green this week after he was comprehensively cleared by the Director of Public Prosecutions. It wasn't just the Conservatives who found this week that the Home office had greatly overstated the national security implications of the material published by Damian Green: it was the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs, which has a Labour majority, and their view was endorsed by the DPP. It wasn't just the Conservatives who pointed out that much of the information Damian Green was accused of leaking was clearly in the public interest, that much of it was already known by, for example, Lab

Pensions and Savings action day

Today and through the weekend Conservatives in Copeland have joined colleagues in other parts of the country, hitting the streets to campaign for action in support of Pensioners and Savers in next week's budget. Conservative policies to help savers include proposals to: * abolish income tax on savings for basic rate taxpayers * raise the pensioners’ personal allowance to £11,490 and we have been delivering leaflets today in support of those plans More details of this campaign to follow.

David Cameron writes: A defining week in the history of this government

I think it's been a pretty defining week in the history of this Government. It started with all that nonsense over Easter when it emerged that while people up and down the country were worried about their jobs, homes and futures, one of the Prime Minister's main advisers was busy cooking up lies to spread about me, my colleagues and our families. After five days, the Prime Minister finally took full responsibility and said sorry. But, in many ways, that's the easy part. The hard part is what comes next - addressing the culture of spin and smear in Downing Street. As anyone who works in an office knows, it's the boss who sets the culture - so Gordon Brown's got to ask himself some serious questions. And it ended with the Director of Public Prosecutions chucking out the charges against Damian Green. Let's be clear what happened here. An Opposition MP was arrested, and he and his family put through hell, for simply doing his job. It was wrong. He's been vindica

Swimathon 2009 result

I completed the Swimathon 2009 yesterday to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer care. I completed 5,000 metres e.g. 200 lengths of the 25 metre pool at the "Sportspark" pool at my old university, UEA, in one hour, 49 minutes and 31 seconds. You can read more about the Swimathon at . You can still sponsor me online on the Swimathon website where my personal sponsorship page is here , and I would be most grateful to anyone who is kind enough to sponsor me and support this worthy cause.

Labour Plot to smear opponents backfires

A very close associate of the Prime Minister, Damian McBride, has had to resign from a senior position at Ten Downing Street after he was caught red-handed plotting to spread a tissue of sick and obscene lies about the families and sex lives of several senior Conservatives. McBride, who was Head of Strategy and Planning at No 10, sent emails to a number of colleagues proposing a smear campaign which would have used a website called “Red Rag” to promote unattributed and baseless smears, such as suggesting that the wife of one senior Conservative party figure has mental problems, and going further down into the gutter from there. This man was writing the worst kind of Labour propaganda and smears on government time, paid for by the taxpayer, and sent his proposals for this tawdry smear campaign from a Downing Street email address. I’m rather inclined to agree with The Times that he should not have been permitted to resign: he should have been sacked. Charles Clarke MP said, as soon as th

Happy Easter

A very happy and holy Easter to everyone reading this blog

Chris Whiteside in Swimathon 2009

I will be taking part in Swimathon 2009 next week to raise money for charity, particularly Marie Curie Cancer care. I hope to swim 5,000 metres e.g. 200 lengths of a 25 metre pool. When I was younger, fitter, and had more time for training I managed to get my time for the 5,000 metres down to an hour and twenty minutes, but this year I will be delighted to finish and doubly delighted if I can get my time within an hour and 45 minutes You can read more about the Swimathon at . Swimathon have arranged for people to be able to sponsor swimmers and pay online. My sponsorship page is here . and I would be most grateful to anyone who is kind enough to sponsor me and support this worthy cause.

Special Meeting of Copeland Council today

A special meeting of Copeland Borough Council has been called for 5pm this evening in the Copeland Centre in Catherine Street, Whitehaven, at the request of fice Conservative councillors. We were forced to call this special meeting in order to put forward constructive proposals for reform on some of the issues arising out of the terrible audit reports which were discussed at the council last week. We had tabled a motion for debate at that meeting in order to put these proposals forward, but that motion was guillotined (e.g. ran out of time) after just the proposing and seconding speeches because the Labour majority refused to allow enough time to discuss it. Consequently the only way to ensure the issues are addressed was to call a special meeting.

If Jesus had a vote

If Jesus were to express a view on the merits of any political party, I suspect he would have things to say which all parties would find very uncomfortable. It has been my experience that there is a strong and inverse correlation between the actual merits of anyone involved in politics, and the degree to which they are convinced that they have a monopoly of virtue. Those with the strongest conviction that their opponents are evil tend to find it easiest to convince themselves that therefore the most morally dubious tactics can be justified to stop those opponents. And those who imagine themselves to be the strongest arbiters of morality all too frequently think this allows them to take liberties which they would be the first to condemn in anyone else. If I knew nothing else about a given political party, should they be arrogant enough to publish election publicity claiming that Jesus would vote for them, then that alone would make me suspect that he would do nothing of the kind. While

Gordon Brown loses an election

Hat Tip to Herbert Proper Snr on the political betting site He says that Madame Tussauds' website contained the following: "Gordon Brown voted out ——————————————————————————– I n the last week 6333 people registered their votes in a poll to decide if the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, should be immortalised in wax here in the World Leaders Zone at Madame Tussauds. By a convincing consensus he is duly voted out of Madame Tussauds, becoming the first incumbent Prime Minister not to be featured in the attraction for over 150 years. The Results FOR Gordon Brown to be featured in Madame Tussauds – 1025 (16.2%). AGAINST Gordon Brown to be featured in Madame Tussauds – 5308 (83.8%) Thank you to everyone who voted." Although a quick check of the Madame Tussauds (London) website did not locate this report, the "New Millenium" page under "History" on the site, here, does indeed include notes on which world statesmen have had their wax images added to the display

Special Meeting of Copeland Council

There will be a special meeting of Copeland Borough Council at 5pm on Thursday 9th April. This meeting was called at the request of five members of the Conservative group, to complete discussion of the scathing reports from the Audit Commission which was guillotined at the 31st March meeting.

When April Fools get rather too serious

The News and Star reported this week how two 18-year old apprentices in West Cumbria were arrested and suspended from their jobs after an April Fool prank was taken as a potential terrorist threat and caused 65 people to be evacuated. You can read the full story here. There is an important balance which should apply in our attitude to humour. Provided that it does not cause genuine inconvenience, suffering, or danger, it ought to be possible to enjoy a joke without anyone over-reacting. But some jokes go over the top. At some point in the past twenty years Britain seems to have gone from erring on one side to the other in our attitude to humour. For many years we were a bit too tolerant of cruel jokes. C.S. Lewis, best known for the "Narnia" children's books but also a distinguished writer on literature and religion, once wrote that the English obsession with humour meant some unpleasant people had discovered that they could get away with almost any act of cruelty if it

Eric owns up

Hat tip to Iain Dale for drawing my attention to the exchange below between Eric Pickles M.P. and Andrew Neil on "Straight Talk" which is due to go out today. Eric Pickles and myself go back to the days when we were both Young Conservatives and I have a huge amount of time for him. I was astonished by what happened on Question Time, but I think Eric deserves to win back some of the respect he may have lost last week with this very frank interview in which he describes the programme as "a car crash in slow motion" and explains how he has changed his views as a result. Here's the exchange about his experience on last week's QUESTION TIME. Andrew Neil: You were also brought in because you were seen to be a man of the people, so how could a man of the people make such a Horlicks of Question Time, as you did last week? Eric Pickles: I think you’re being kind to me; I think it was worse than a Horlicks. It was like, it was like a car crash in slow motion, and whic

Cameron meets Obama

Conservtive Home reports on yesterday's meeting between David Cameron and President Obama. It was the second meeting between the men - the first was when Mr Obama was still a candidate last summer. President Obama has a massive schedule that included his first meetings with the Russian and Chinese leaders. That it happened at all is a sign of the White House's expectation that Gordon Brown (who Obama lavished praise on earlier in the day) is unlikely to be in office for long. On the American side were Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, National Security Advisor Jim Jones and the Acting US Ambassador to London. On our side were David Cameron, William Hague, George Osborne, Pauline Neville-Jones, Ed Llewellyn and Andy Coulson. The meeting ran for slightly longer than thirty minutes and topics covered included the G20, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, green technologies and NATO reform. CCHQ described the meeting as "positive" and "business-like". Mr Cameron told

Feedback from 31st March Copeland Council meeting

HIGH POINTS Briarwood: Unanimous agreement from Conservative, Labour, and independent councillors to support a campaign for Briarwood Nursing Home - the council agreed a motion to urge Anchor Trust to either keep it open or find a way to transfer the home to another organisation who could maintain it. Financial reform: The leader agreed to take away and consider a fifth suggested learning point for the council which I put forward, in addition to the four recommended by the District Auditor, in response to the complaint about the accounts in respect of the sale of land at Whitehaven Golf Course. Hospital Beds: The leader also joined me in welcoming the news that the new "Step-Up, Step Down" beds at West Cumberland Hospital arising out of "Closer to Home" are due to open on 12th April. Planning: Although the Labour group voted down two proposals I had made on the planning scheme of delegation to officers, they did agree to review the scheme in six months. LOW POIN