Showing posts from September, 2009

"Quote of the Day"

Overheard in the restaurant: "The Russians have blasted a clown into space today - why can't we do the same with Gordon Brown?"

Sun backs Dave

The Sun newspaper has decided to back the Conservatives at the next election. They give their reasons in full here, the key section reads as follows: "At the 2005 election, we and our readers believed Labour had many failings but gave them one last chance over a lacklustre Tory party. They have had that chance and failed. That is a fact Gordon Brown cannot escape, for all his rhetoric yesterday - his rewriting of history, his absurd caricature of the "heartless" Tories, his tired promises to solve problems he has had 12 years to solve. Britain needs a brave and wise Government to restore our self-respect, our natural entrepreneurship and the will of every family to improve its lot through its own efforts, without depending on handouts. We need a Government that will cut the red tape strangling businesses, that will make affordable tax cuts to stimulate growth, that will reform wasteful public services. We need a Government with a genuine will to win the war in Afghanist

Today's papers

After doing some canvassing this afternoon I came home, had tea, and picked up the sunday paper - and I am still in shock from what the dominant stories say about the state of Britain today. The stories which dominate the news are * British victims of the credit crunch are trying to get out of debt by offering to sell one of their kidneys for £25,000 (link here ). * General Mackay who recently resigned as one of the British commanders in Afghanistan, has said that he was asked whether he could postpone an attack on a Taleban position until after Gordon Brown's visit to the country ( link ). * Tony Blair has demeaned the office of Prime Minister which he used to hold by allowing admirers to pay £180 a time to pose with him for photographs ( link ). * Another rash of stories about how the Attorney General, e.g. the government minister responsible for enforcing the law, continues to survive in that post despite having broken a law which she herself steered through parliament, includin

The government is borrowing £6,000 per second

David Cameron has written a message with something to think about during the Prime Minister's conference speech. It reads as follows: From Bournemouth to Brighton, the conference season rolls on. Next week, the Labour Party will meet for its annual conference. I expect Gordon Brown's speech will be stuffed full of statistics about how he's saving the world. But here are the facts which really matter in Britain today. This country is in the worst mess it's been in for a generation. Unemployment is rising and youth unemployment is at its highest level since records began. Violent crime has increased by 70 per cent under Labour and there are more than 100 serious knife crimes every day. The poor are getting poorer, social mobility has stalled, and four in ten children are leaving primary school unable to read, write and add up properly. And while all this is happening, the Government is borrowing money at a rate of around £6,000 every second. That's something to think

FT: Labour lead in the North evaporates

Reuters report here details of an analysis of recent polling data published in the Financial Times indicating that the Labour party has lost support not just in the South of England but in Northern seats like Copeland. The FT analysis suggests "a bleak picture for Labour" in terms of their prospects for the next general election, which must be held by June 2010. The business daily's analysis of aggregated regional data from recent voting intention surveys suggests that the Tories have a four-point lead in the north of England, wiping out the 19-point Labour lead in the region that helped keep Tony Blair in power in the last election. The FT article suggests that there has been an 11.5 percentage point swing from Labour to the Conservatives in the North since the May 2005 election, which is the largest swing for any region of Britain. They quote Andrew Cooper, founder of the polling company Populus, as saying that “The only reason Labour weren’t wiped out in England at th

Use Tides to power The Wave ?

As reported on the Whitehaven News website, protesters on Sunday urging that "The Wave" at Whitehaven Harbour should be turned on have suggested that perhaps it could be powered by a tidal or wind turbine. About two dozen people held a candlelit vigil at The Wave to draw attention to the fact the artwork has not been lit up for over a year. Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners say they cannot afford to pay for repairs to the lights. A Facebook group set up to campaign for the restoration of the lights has attracted 600 members. Organiser Chris Gurney told those at Sunday's candlelit vigil: “At the turn of the century, the Millennium Commission awarded the Whitehaven Millennium project £6.9million to help regenerate the harbour areas. “As part of this award, The Wave was created. I’d also like to recognise the great work that the harbour commissioners have done in the past. “They have pulled this historical port into the 21st century and given us a modern harbour we can all be

Latest ICM Poll

Hat tip to Political Betting for the details of the latest ICM poll in the Guardian CON 43% (+2) LAB 26% (+1) LD 19% (nc) The “others” total drops to 12% The 17% Tory lead is the second highest ever in the Guardian series of polls which began in 1984. Less than half those who told ICM that they voted Labour in 2005 plan to do so again. This compares with the situation in the ICM/Guardian poll in September 1996 of a 15% lead for Labour - in other words this poll has put David Cameron further ahead than Tony Blair was according to a poll by the same organisation at the equivalent stage of the 1992-97 parliament. Nobody should take the result of the next election for granted, however. No election is won until the returning officer declares the result.

Feedback from Millom neighbourhood forum

Attended the Millom forum this evening The major item was a question and answer session with the leader of Copeland Council and several of the council's senior officers. Issues raised included 1) Choosing to change 2) The poor Audit report on the council's housing department - what progress has been made? (It was accepted that this service had had serious problems - an improvement plan is in process) 3) What has been the delay on quality beaches? (Answer - capacity problems in the council department concerned. A vacancy in that team has now been filled, it is hoped to put at least two beaches forward in November.) There will be fireworks if it is only two: all four of the areas which did have quality flag status want it back 4) What is the status of the Gateway Project? (Answer, on hold, but it could be re-started if Millom residents wish. We were told that the disagreements about parking had persuaded the authorities that the scheme did not have enough public suppo

Don't forget to give us a wave today!

Just a reminder: there will be a candle-lit protest at Whitehaven Harbour at 7pm this evening (Sunday 20th) calling for the Harbour Commissioners to fix the Wave. Bring a candle !

Eric Pickles: Lib Dems should consider voting Tory

The Chairman of the Conservative party has made a keynote speech on why Liberal Democrat voters should consider supporting the Conservatives at the next election, especially in seats like Copeland where the best chance of removing a Labour MP supporting Gordon Brown's illiberal government is to elect a Conservative MP. Eric highlighted the "growing consensus" uniting Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters about the kind of change our country needs and outlined the "clear choice" between voting again for the Liberal Democrats, with a leader who has admitted he is chasing Labour votes, or putting trust in David Cameron to deliver on the things the whole country wants to see. As Eric pointed out, fifty Liberal Democrat councillors, nine former parliamentary candidates and one MEP have already made the move since David Cameron became leader: here in Copeland a former Liberal Democrat council candidate is now a valuable member of my campaign team. Eric pointed to

Cameron Direct

David Cameron has been holding a series of unscripted meetings in marginal constituencies called "Cameron Direct" in which anyone can attend and ask him any question. I saw one of these in Barrow: of course I'm biased but I was very impressed. This video shows his most recent Cameron Direct in Bedford a few days ago.

Iain Dale fisks James Macintyre

Iain Dale has an excellent piece here in which he gives a very restrained fisking of James Macintyre's silly blog post.

Give us a Wave! Bring a candle at 7pm tomorrow

There will be a candle-lit protest at 7pm tomorrow (Sunday 20th) calling for the Harbour Commissioners to fix the Wave at Whitehaven Harbour. This was organised by Chris Gurney, who set up a Facebook site to campaign set up a group on the social networking site Facebook. Since August 23, his page has attracted 576 members who all want the focal point on the harbour to be repaired and have come up with ideas of how to fix it. He wrote online: “Hopefully quite a few of you will turn up and show the harbour commissioners that there is a real swell of public opinion that we want the Wave fixed. See you there!” People are asked to bring a candle along. The Harbour Commissioners have said that plans are in place for new designs for the lighting, but it could take around 12 months for funding to be secured. Mr Gurney is also part of the photography group, Whitehaven Snappers. It is this, he said, that has spurred him on to petition to get the Wave fixed. It's high time the wave was fixed

DC: Reality has caught up with Gordon Brown

David Cameron writes: On Tuesday, after months of denying it, Gordon Brown finally admitted that spending had to be cut. So at last he is catching up with reality. The public spending debate can often get bogged down in the language of deficits, forecasts and balance sheets but it really is this simple: Britain's in a debt crisis. We're borrowing far, far too much money. And unless we cut public spending, we're all going to pay the price - with higher taxes, higher interest rates and lower confidence in our economy for the long-term. So why on earth has it taken the Government so long to realise this? For months, we've been telling them that they need to get a grip on our national finances. And all across the country, families and businesses have been working out how to trim their own costs and live within their means. But the Government seems to have been entirely asleep on the job. It didn't have to be like this. On Wednesday, the Conservatives were handed leaked

James Macintyre gets himself in hot water

There is an old epigram "You cannot hope to bribe or twist, (thank God) the British journalist But seeing what the man will do, unbribed, there's no occasion to. When Humbert Wolfe wrote that poem, he must have been thinking of a journalist like the Political Editor of the New Statesman, James Macintyre. It's a free country, and Mr Macintyre has every right to express his opinions even when I find them ludicrous. Postscript - as originally written this post contained a link giving an example by reference to an page  on the "Working Class Tory" blog which systematically demolished a particularly silly article. Since I posted this the "Working Class Tory" blog has been limited o an invited audience, but if you happen to be one of those who are able to read it the link I originally included is here. ) What I find less acceptable is when Macintyre plays the race card and uses "guilt by association" tactics to make false accusations of

Comments policy on this blog

This blog is meant to be capable of being read by a family audience. I will not accept profanity on it, and neither will I accept libellous comments. In the first three years this blog was up I only deleted about three comments from visitors to the site. I don't accept that blocking an average of one comment a year can be described as intolerance of disagreement. I had to delete slightly more than that, though still a single figure number, in the following eighteen monts. However, in the past two weeks, I have had to delete considerably more unsuitable comments than in the previous four and a half years. I suspect someone is either having a laugh or trying to force me to turn on comment moderation. I therefore want to update and reiterate my policy on comments, which is 1) Any post which contains profanity is likely to be deleted. 2) Any post which I consider potentially libellous will be deleted. 3) Commercial adverts, and anonymous posts which are completely irrelevant to the sub

Mandelson's Mission Impossible

Hat tip to the bloggers at Political Betting for drawing my attention to this item on the Economist website referring to an interview by the magazine's "Bagehot" political editor with Lord Mandelson. It refers to the U-turn which Mandelson has engineered, dropping Brown's ridiculous "Labour investment versus Tory Cuts" line which was an insult to the intelligence of the electorate. The article concludes "Lord Mandelson was typically robust — but the truth is, this time, he and the rest of Mr Brown's team are on an almost impossible mission. It would have been mad for Mr Brown to try to stick to his "investment versus cuts" line until the election. Revising it is almost certainly the least bad option available to him. But it is still a humiliating reversal that no amount of Mandelsonian finessing can disguise."

Mr ten per cent - Gordon Brown

For months the Labour party has had on their website a picture of David Cameron and the slogan "Mr Ten per cent" which is a reference to the shadow health secretary's comment that on the government's own spending plans, and if the NHS is protected, everything else would have to be cut by an average of 10% in real terms over three years. The inference being that the Conservatives would make cuts of this order and Labour would not. Now documents have surfaced which show that Labour has known all along that they will indeed have to make cuts of that order. And while the Prime Minister was saying of the idea of cutting public spending in departments other than Health by 10% over three years, "That is not the policy of this government." the treasury was in fact planning cuts of 9.3% over four years. He also said "I have always told the truth. I have always told people as it is." One is tempted to throw back at him the words he is supposed to have said

Brian Dixon on why he resigned the Labour whip

Copeland council takes a severe kicking - which, to be honest, is richly deserved - on the letters and news pages of this week's Whitehaven News in respect of the way the "Choosing to Change" programme has been handled. The decision to take part in the programme was necessary and the right thing to do - there have been just too many indications that the council is in some ways one of the worst in the country and the people of Copeland deserve better than that. Unfortunately both the way the decision was taken and the way the report from the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee into that decision were handled demonstrate how much the council needs to improve, to become more open and more transparent. Brian Dixon has an article in the paper edition of tomorrow's Whitehaven News on why he resigned the Labour whip. It makes some very powerful points about what is wrong with Copeland's politics. When Brian was appointed to chair the council's Overview and Scr

More bad news on unemployment ...

Every single Labour government in history has increased unemployment, e.g. it has been higher when they left office than when they were elected. If there were an election this autumn and Labour were to lose, this record of failure would be maintained.

Inkerman Terrace Closure - one week in, four weeks left

Graham Roberts wisely persuaded representatives from Cumbria highways to attend the Bransty and Harbour forum this evening to discuss the Inkermn Terrace road closure which has now been in effect for a week, with another four to go. At the moment the work is on schedule. As expected, there has been extra traffic on Solway View and Hilton Terrace which has made life difficult for residents of these roads. The morning peak hour has largely settled down but the afternoon peak hour is still quite bad. I'm told by a number of businesses in Whitehaven that their trade has been down during the closure. With less than perfect timing, we were informed this evening that the Amey Mouchel on behalf of the Highways agency will be doing some repainting work on most of the Loop Road junctions in Whitehaven in late September, which may require "Stop-Go" signs to be used. This will start before the Inkerman Terrace work is finished. However, they will be working in the evening so it will

Nick Robinson catches Mandelson fibbing.

One of the more irritating aspects of New Labour is the way they are prone to the shameless rewriting of history.  They've been doing it from the word go, from Tony Blair's attempts to blame non-existent votes in the House of Lords when he delayed legislation, to Godon Brown's Labour Conference speech in which he inferred that Conservatives thought it was impossible to abolish the slave trade or to ban sending children down mines and up chimneys.  (The first was passed with the support of a many tories, one of Wilberforce's main allies having been a Tory prime minister, Pitt the Younger; the second was proposed by a Tory peer, Lord Shaftesbury.)   Particularly irritating is when, in true 1984 style, they not only drop a slogan which has been at the centre of their propaganda, but deny that they ever said it. Prior to the current economic difficulties, Gordon Brown claimed to have abolished boom and bust. This was always regarded as nonsense by experts, as you can read

Frank Field on public spending

I wrote a short while ago that painful decisions would be needed after the next election whoever wins it. Otherwise Britain will sink in a sea of debt. One Labour MP who is willing to be open about this is Frank Field, who had an excellent article in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday headed Bribing voters with their own money is no longer an option. The first few paragraphs of the article include the following: "When asked by the Telegraph this week how he would like a Tory government to be remembered, David Cameron's answer was clear: "We sorted out the deficit." History will indeed judge the next government by whether it walks the walk on public expenditure and provides a titanic dose of sanity to the public accounts ... The point is that ever since 1945, parties have competed for votes by promising to expand public expenditure. Bribing voters with their own money has been the order of the day. Now the tables have turned ... ... this is no ordinary set of economic ci

Voters trust Tories more than Labour on public services

A new poll carried out online by YouGov for Policy Exchange and published today in the News of the World, which you can read here, says that voters believe schools and hospitals would be better under David Cameron. The weighted findings of the poll showed that : * 29% of people trusted the Tories most to deliver value for money on public services, compared to 19% who favoured Labour * 26% trust the Tories most to provide the best quality public services, compared to 23% for Labour. The Conservatives also came out ahead when voters were asked which party was more likely to protect the quality of public services from spending cuts by increased efficiency. The survey included a question for those who actually work in the public services, and of these most respondents said "not much" or "none" of the extra spending under Labour had gone on improving the quality of service for the general public. 84% said "lots" or "a fair amount" had gone on burea

Quote of the Day

From an article by Andrew Rawnsley in today's Observer which you can read here: "Precedent was always against Labour winning the next election. Only once in modern British history has a party secured four successive terms in office. Securing another term would be a challenge even if the party was led by a cross between Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Jesus Christ. It is instead led by Gordon Brown ."

Soham report author criticises proposed scheme

Sir Michael Bichard, the former Whitehall mandarin who conducted the inquiry into the Soham killings, on which the new "Vetting and Barring" scheme was based, has joined calls for a review of the ISA's rules, suggesting the new restrictions on millions of ordinary adults were a disproportionate response to the threat posed by paedophiles. The ISA will become the world's largest vetting and checking system when it starts work next month, checking the backgrounds of an estimated 11.3 million adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Anyone whose work brings them into contact with children will have to undergo checks costing £64, including all teachers, doctors, nurses dentists, pharmacists, prison officers, and school governors and dinner ladies. Most controversially, parents who give lifts to friends' children to attend a football match or Cubs' evening will have to be vetted in all cases where the arrangements are made through the club or organisation. Th

More on Cutting the Cost of Politics

A follow up from David Cameron yesterday to his speech earlier in the week about cutting the cost of ministers and MPs "The seasons might be changing but this Groundhog Day Government certainly isn't. Labour came back from their summer holidays promising a fresh approach - more honesty and more realism about the state of the public finances. But after all the spin the most striking thing about Alistair Darling's speech was what he didn't say. He still couldn't bring himself to utter the word 'cuts' and there were no new commitments to reduce spending. What's more he didn't address the fundamental inconsistency in Labour's argument. He says he'll reduce the deficit once the recession is over, yet his own forecasts expect growth to resume at the end of this year. So why on earth are they still planning to increase spending next year by £30 billion? Simple - there's a general election around the corner and for Labour, doing the right thing

Heard at the post office

While collecting an item at Whitehaven sorting office today, where the staff were, as usual, extremely helpful ... "Are you the Conservative feller, then ?" "Yes, that's me" "So can we expect a bit in the Whitehaven News about how good we are?" (Said with a smile and a twinkle in the eye ...) Not certain if I can swing that but I'm happy to acknowledge here that all the the post office people in Whitehaven (and the rest of Copeland) have always given excellent service.

Vetting and Barring

As a parent of two children aged under ten, I would strongly support any reasonable measure which makes it less likely that they or other children could be attacked by paedophiles. That includes longer sentences for people convicted of actually harming children, and making the systems which check up on potentially dangerous people more effective. Unfortunately it does not necessarily mean bringing vastly more people into the net of government checks, which are already drawn so widely that the systems involved are creaking at the seams. There comes a point when the more people you try to watch, the less effectively you watch those who really need watching. And the government's new "Vetting and Barring" scheme appears to go way past that point. The Daily Telegraph reports here how the government is proposing a vast extension of the range of people who need checks before they are allowed within a mile of children. The new scheme covers any formal agreement to ferry youngste

Bransty & Harbour Neighbourhood Forum, 15 Sept

The next meeting of the Bransty & Harbour neighbourhood forum will be held at 7pm on Tuesday 15th September in the United Reformed Church, Market Place, Whitehaven. The first item on the agenda will be a report back on the Whitehaven Traffic Flow consultation: I suspect this may be widened to allow some questions about the impact of the current road closure on Inkerman Terrace. This will be followed by a series of Community updates, on the work of the COuncil for Voluntary services, and on New Start adult education courses, and by updates on items previously raised, including Litter and refuse issues, Mill Street, and resident's parking. As usual the meeting will finish by considering Grant applications.

Labour's death wish: September Copeland Council

The September full council meeting of Copeland Borough Council took place today.  It began with presentations to various schools who had done excellent work to improve their local environment, and there was some discussion on traffic (see previous post) but the meeting was dominated by an extraordinary row about the "Choosing to Change" programme.  When an administration at national or council level has been in power for too long it sometimes develops a kind of "death wish." When this syndrome takes hold there seems to be no sequence of events which they cannot turn into a festering self-inflicted wound. It's a bit like the political equivalent of Necrotizing fasciitis.    And both Gordon Brown's Labour government and Elaine Woodburn's Labour administration in Copeland have advanced cases of this "death wish" syndrome. Cases which, if the electorate makes the right decision, will be terminal. Having repeatedly been the subject of truly dreadfu

Inkerman Terrace Road Closure - Day two

This is the second day of the roadworks in Whitehaven during which the A5094 in Whitehaven is closed for re-surfacing from the junction of Inkerman Terrace with the Loop Road (A595) down to the garage at the junction of Corkickle and Coach Road. The lower end of Park Drive at the bottom of Midgey is also now closed to through traffic. The one-way restriction on the Northern part of Foxhouses Road between the A5094 and Ehen Drive junctions has been lifted while the repairs are in process and there are a lot of temporary yellow lines on roads like Calder Avenue. I have been walking to work and back rather than taking the car. The town centre is quieter than usual. I am told that, as expected, traffic flows in the area of the Pelican junction have been quite difficult. I raised the issue at Copeland Council this afternoon: there seemed to be a fair degree of consensus that more consultation and discussion further in advance about how to minimise disruption caused by this kind of road work

DC on cutting the cost of politics

David Cameron gave a major speech today, which you can read in full here, setting out how a Conservative Government will cut the cost of politics. "If we're going to take our country through these difficult times", he said, "those who lead must lead by powerful example. That means getting our own house in order and cutting the cost of politics". He outlined several ways of doing this, including cutting the number of MPs, cutting their perks and subsidies, and cutting ministerial salaries and their cars. In total the proposals DC announced today will save taxpayers as much as £120 million a year, but he emphasised that this was about more than the money. "It's about the message. This country is in a debt crisis. We must all now come together, play our part, carry our burden and pay our fair share. And that starts at the very top - with politicians cutting the cost of politics".

Inkerman Terrace Road Closure in effect from today

Well, today we find out what the effect of the road closure of Inkerman Terrace is. If you have to drive into Whitehaven over the next five weeks, drive carefully.

Yet more Labour smears ...

If I had to identify the worst and most poisonous aspect of the "New Labour" culture it would have to be the extent to which many of them - not all - are extremely prone to smearing anyone who gets in their way. I've changed my views on this since moving to Copeland: if you had asked me when I lived in St Albans who were the dirtiest fighters in politics I would have answered that it was the Liberal Democrats. Conservative and Labour councillors on that authority frequently ended up working together to a greater extent than you would expect because both those groups found that Lib/Dem dirty tricks made them very difficult to co-operate with. However, there are decent people and scoundrels in every political party, and I'm coming to the view that a large part of the present Labour administration is even less scrupulous than the worst Lib/Dems in their willingness to smear anyone who stands in their way. That doesn't just mean Conservatives - they are almost equall

Inkerman Terrace closure - ONE DAY TO GO

Tomorrow, Monday 7th September, the A5094 in Whitehaven will be closed for repairs from the junction of Inkerman Terrace with the Loop Road (A595) down to the garage at the junction with Coach Road. Park Drive at the bottom of Midgey will also be closed to through traffic. The one-way restriction on the Northern part of Foxhouses Road between the A5094 and Ehen Drive junctions will be lifted while the repairs are in process. The repairs to the road are expected to take about five weeks. This will not be an easy period. Leave plenty of time and drive carefully while coming into Whitehaven by car from tomorrow.

David Cameron on why we are in Afghanistan

This week was the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. It's a time to remember all those who fought, died and sacrificed for Britain. But it's a time, too, to remember the lessons. Some of those lessons apply in Afghanistan today. We're fighting a ferocious war and after eight years there still seems to be no end in sight. Our troops lack vital equipment, especially helicopters. Many people want Ministers to explain more clearly what our troops are fighting for. And that anxiety is now really affecting the Government, with the resignation of an aide to the Defence Secretary. It's clear we cannot go on as we are. We need to make it clear to the British people why we're in Afghanistan. It's simple - to stop terrorism here in Britain. We must help the Afghans to stop their country from once again hosting the world's most dangerous terrorists. So we need to train and equip the Afghan army to root out terrorists, and to support them unt

Inkerman Terrace closure - TWO DAYS TO GO

Just two days to go until Monday 7th September, when for about five weeks the A5094 in Whitehaven will be closed for repairs from the junction of Inkerman Terrace with the Loop road down to the garage at the junction with Coach Road. Park Drive at the bottom of Midgey will also be closed to through traffic. The one-way restriction on the Northern part of Foxhouses Road between the A5094 and Ehen Drive junctions will be lifted while the repairs are in process. If you will have to get into the centre of Whitehaven, especially during rush hour, for the next few weeks, it is worth some careful thought about how to do so. * If you are in a position to apply "modal shift" and walk in, this might be a very good idea (and I will be taking my own advice on this.) * The recommended route in is to take the Loop Road up to the pelican and turn 150 degrees left down New Road. This probably is the best route, but be prepared for delays. This is also the recommended route out. *

Digital switchover problems

The saga of Digital TV switchover is far from over. My Bransty county colleague Graham Roberts has had a large number of complaints and concerns from people whose TV service was disrupted as a result of the changover to Digital transmission. Apparently a major part of the problem this time has been interference between the Bleach Green transmitter and one on the Isle of Man which used the same frequency. From beginning to end the process of Digital Switchover has been marketing led rather than engineering led, and in consequence not enough emphasis has been placed on anticipating and learning from problems. It really is time that more attention was paid to people on the engineering side of the TV industry who understand the technical issues with switchover.

Inkerman Terrace closure - THREE DAYS TO GO

Inkerman Terrace closure - FOUR DAYS TO GO

Four days to go until Monday 7th September, when for about five weeks the A5094 in Whitehaven will be closed for repairs from the junction of Inkerman Terrace with the Loop road down to the garage at the junction with Coach Road. Park Drive at the bottom of Midgey will also be closed to through traffic. The one-way restriction on the Northern part of Foxhouses Road between the A5094 and Ehen Drive junctions will be lifted while the repairs are in process. The recommended route into Whitehaven during this period is down New Road at the Pelican junction. I am and remain very worried about the capacity of junctions on the remaining main routes into town and the road safety issues which are likely to arise on some of the potential rat runs. If you are in a position to walk into town rather than take the car, it might be worth doing for the next few weeks. (I shall be taking my own advice on this.) If you drive into town along residential roads, please drive carefully.

Lest we forget ...

Seventy years ago today Britain declared war on Germany at the start of WWII. There followed six years of sacrifice ad many thousands of brave men and women gave their lives to prevent the victory of perhaps the most evil cause the world has ever known. That sacrifice must never be forgotten. Now should we forget that the sacrifices were greater than might otherwise have been necessary, and that Nazism came closer to establishing a new Dark Age, because the majority of leaders and people in the Western Democracies failed in peacetime to grasp the severity of the threat or to prepare for the challenge that they would face. There are those who argue that the threats faced by the free world today are even worse than those of earlier ages. When it is used in an attempt to justify the erosion of centuries old liberties, that argument is overplayed. The threats presented by Hitler's Germany seventy years ago, or by the former Soviet Union in my youth, were incomparably greater than Mahmo

Left in the dark

Because Labour have left it too late to start the process of building new power stations, there is a strong probability of power cuts in Britain within the next decade, whoever wins the next election. The admission that Britain will face power-cuts is contained in one of the supporting documethns for Government’s own "Low Carbon Transition Plan", launched in July. As the Daily Telegraph reports here an appendix to the report, only published online, warns of power shortages. It details supplies and expected demand between now and 2030, and highlights the first short-fall in 2017. The “energy unserved” level reaches 3000 megawatt hours per year. That is the equivalent of the whole of the Nottingham area being without electricity for a day. Shadow Energy and Climate Change secretary Greg Clark has a new blog on which he explains here how the problem has arisen. He concludes: The next government has an urgent task to accelerate the deployment of new generating capacity of all

Frank Field on teaching history in schools

Labour MP Frank Field has an excellent article on Conservative Home about teaching history in schools which you can read here. I hope he doesn't take any flak for writing this or Con Home for publishing it, because more constructive discussion ignoring party lines in this country would be a thoroughly good thing.