Showing posts from May, 2014

Extracts from Martin Callanan's valedictory article as ECR chairman

Martin Callanan was an MEP from 1999 until his defeat last week, and was the Chairman of the "European Conservative and Reformists" group in the European parliament which is the centre right group of pragmatic eurosceptic reformers which was set up when the British Conservatives (and most of the rest of those who joined the ECR) left the "European People's Party" (EPP). The EPP is (still) the largest group in the European parliament: it is a grouping of centre right parties such as the German Christian Democrats. The British Conservatives were members of that group for  many years but continued membership became increasingly untenable once the EPP started trying to do things like try to agree and impose a common manifesto and agree to support a common candidate for EU President. This is because most of the members of the EPP are Federalist, and the vast majority of Conservatives are now eurosceptic. Martin Callanan is about the same vintage as myself, and I

Quote of the day 31st May 2014

“It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.” ( Anthony Robbins  )

New NHS head backs community hospitals

Community hospitals should play a bigger role especially in the care of older patients, the new head of the NHS in England has saidaccording to Simon Stevens, the new Chief Executive of the NHS. In an interview in the Daily Telegraph , Simon Stevens signalled a change in policy by calling for a shift away from big centralised hospitals. The health service chief executive said there needed to be new models of care built around smaller local hospitals. The NHS said he was not suggesting the return of 50s-style cottage hospitals. In recent years the health service has emphasised the benefits of centralised services. This has paid dividends in areas such as stroke care and major trauma where significant benefits have been gained by concentrating specialist care. But it has been seen as a question mark over the future of the many smaller district general hospitals across the NHS such as West Cumberland Hospital. In the interview in Friday's paper, Mr Stevens s

Quote of the day 30th May 2014

“The man of thought who will not act is ineffective; the man of action who will not think is dangerous.”   ( Richard M. Nixon  )

Quote of the day 29th May 2014

"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”   ( Isaac Asimov  )

The law of unintended consequences strikes again ...

Like most people who have more than a rudimentary knowledge of the workings of the legal system, I am an opponent of capital punishment. It is just not possible to get a justice system which never makes mistakes. Therefore if you use the death penalty you will execute a certain number of innocent people. You will also have a certain number of guilty people acquitted, for whom the evidence of guilt would have been sufficiently overwhelming to constitute "proof beyond reasonable doubt" in the eyes of a jury if the consequence were a jail term, but not if it meant execution. For that reason I would vote against any attempt to bring back the death penalty in the UK. I also think it is reasonable to use diplomatic means to persuade other countries not to apply the death penalty where there are strong reasons to believe that it is likely to result in the execution of the innocent or to be applied where it is grossly disproportionate to any real or imagined offence - e.g. for

Quote of the day 28th May 2014

"A significant chunk of the electorate actually like the idea of coalition government, and want another one. Only four fifths of current Conservative voters say a Tory overall majority is their preferred result. "That is obviously something to bear in mind if Conservatives are tempted over the next year to start setting out the kind of Tory utopia they could unleash if only they had Whitehall to themselves." (Lord Ashcroft on his website and addressing Saturday's Conservative Home conference on the results of his recent extensive polling work.)

The Penny Drops ...

Even France's President Hollande appears to have, at least to some extent, got the message about the need to reform the EU. He has now said that said the EU must reform and scale back its power. Speaking on French TV, Mr Hollande - a leading champion of the EU - said the project had become "remote and incomprehensible", and this must change. "Europe has to be simple, clear, to be effective where it is needed and to withdraw from where it is not necessary," he said.

Quotes of the day 27th May 2014

"We will have a catastrophe at the next election if we go on like this. Our voters are trying to give us one last chance and tell us they want change. He [Ed Miliband] has got to free himself from this or he will drag us down with him." (Labour MP and former minister Frank Field quoted in the The Daily Telegraph ). "It's not just that they think he is weird. They think he's a joke and that's even more dangerous." (Quote about Ed Miliband attributed by the press to a shadow cabinet member speaking 'Off the record')

North West England European election result

Votes cast in this region in the European Elections last Thursday and declared at a little after midnight early this morning were as follows Party Votes MEPs elected An Independence from Europe 26,713 - British National Party 32,826 - Conservative 351,985 2 English Democrats 19,522 - Green 123,075 - Labour 594,163 3 Lib/Dem 105,487 - No2EU 5,402 - Pirate Party UK 8.597 - Socialist Equality Party 5,067 - UK Independence Party 481,932 3 I would like to congratulate all those who were elected, especially Jacqueline Foster and Sajjad Karim, the two re-elected Conservative MEPs, and thank all those who voted for myself and the team of Conservative candidates.

"I do not often attack the Labour party. They do it so well themselves." (Part Two)

More signs of fratricidal warfare among the brothers and sisters today as members of the Labour party have been forming what one of them despairingly described as a "circular firing squad" and  Ted Heath's quote above again very appropriate. Even the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire, who is probably the most pro-Labour commentator to be found anywhere in the British MSM today, described Ed Miliband's campaign here as "a calamitous own goal." and added "The uncomfortable truth for Miliband and Labour is he is a geeky Weird Ed. One of his Shadow Ministers under his breath calls him Forrest Gump." Labour MP and former minister Frank Field has savaged Miliband in  The Daily Telegraph  and called on the Labour Leader to join David Cameron in supporting a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. He told the Telegraph: "We will have a catastrophe at the next election if we go on like this. Our voters are trying to give us on

Quote of the day 26th May 2014

"There is still a year to go, and as I have found in the Ashcroft National Poll, only around half the electorate has definitely decided which party to vote for. "It will be a battle, but remember this. If the Conservatives can switch one in six Labour voters – two thirds of those who say they’re willing to consider the party – this picture looks very different. Start with the ones who trust the Tories on the economy and prefer David Cameron as Prime Minister." (Lord Ashcroft on his website and addressing Saturday's Conservative Home conference on the results of his recent extensive polling work.)

European election resutls.

About to head down to Manchester for the North West European parliament elections Count and Declaration (result expected around midnight.) Whichever way everything goes I am very proud to have been a part of the Conservative campaign in the North West this year.

Quote of the day 25th May 2014

"I asked those who voted in the Euro elections what issues would matter most in determining their vote next year. The economy came top, of course – but nearly as many people mentioned the NHS as immigration. "It would be a mistake to try to re-fight this election and let last week’s issues dominate the debate for the next year." (Lord Ashcroft on his website and addressing yesterday's Conservative Home conference on the results of his recent extensive polling work.)

"I do not often attack the Labour party. They do it so well themselves."

The above line is actually a quote from the late Ted Heath. It does perfectly summarise how Labour have responded to the local election results by attacking one another, as you can read here , or here , here or here . Labour's own MPs have been queuing up to describe their leader as " a problem " or their campaign as " disastrous " or unforgivably unprofessional . Keep up the good work, brothers and sisters: when Labour attack each other it's the one time there's a good chance they're actually telling the truth.

Best response yet to the local elections

Hat tip to Political betting for this one "A Labour councillor was asked about his response to the election. He said "B***** UKIP, coming over here, stealing our jobs ..."

Quote of the day 24th May 2014

"Discipline under fire counts for a lot. The Labour results weren't that bad, but the party reacted as if they were ... the Tory results weren't that good, but the party reacted as if they were, largely holding the line and refusing to panic. That will inevitably colour this weeke'd coverage and debate." (James Kirkup writing in the Telegraph) The council election results which we already have, and the european election votes which have been cast but will not be counted until Sunday evening, should not be ignored. That wold be arrogant. It is obvious that there is a lot of dissatisfaction on the part of many voters and we should listen to them, learn from them, and find constructive ways to respond to the concerns of worried or angry voters. But Kirkup is undoubtedly right that the worst possible response is panic.

Local election results ...

I have been looking through the local election results to see what happened yesterday to some of the excellent candidates I have been campaigning with. South Lakeland DC I was absolutely delighted to see that Kevin Lancaster won back the Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale ward from the Lib/Dems. Kevin was an excellent advocate for the aera when he previously represented it as a councillor and I'm sure he will do a fine job again. Also pleased to see Caroline Airey re-elected in Mid Furness ward. Congratulations to Kevin, Caroline, and their teams. Carlisle All the Conservative seats which were up in Carlisle were successfully defended, and Dalston was a Conservative gain from Independent. Congratulations to Gareth Ellis who held Belah, Mike Mitchelson who held Brampton, Raynor Bloxham who held Longtown & Rockcliffe, Marilyn Bowman who held Stanwix Rurual and Liz Mallinson who held Stanwix Urban, Stephen Higgs in Wetherall and Ann McKerrell who gained Dalston. Commiserations t

First thoughts on initial election results from last night

The table below comes from a tweet from the BBC with council gains and losses last night. It's a net picture so, for example, the figure of minus 78 for counservative councillors indicates that we have lost rather more than seventy-eight council seats but we have also gained some to take the overall change in councillors to that number. This was before any of the results which were counted this morning were declared. The first thing which needs to be honestly recognised is there is obviously a backlash from many voters against all the established parties including the Conservatives. A lot of people are sending a message to the main Westminister parties that they are not happy with us. Well, I get the messsage, and I'm pretty sure that most of my Conservative colleagues do. There is no getting away from the fact that it was a good night for UKIP, and all the more surprising given the sort of fortnight they've just had. But not good enough to be within light-years of t

Crushing 2:1 victory for Copeland Mayor campaign

Copeland council will have a directly elected mayor instead of a council leader as the campaign for change scored a convincing win, by a margin of well over two to one, in the referendum which was held at the same time as the European Parliament elections. 12,671 votes were cast for the option of an elected mayor as compared with only 5,489 for the status quo. Congratulations to Carla Arrighi and her team on a convincing victory in a hard-fought campaign. And now to bed after a 22 hour day ...

Quote of the day 23rd May 2014

"This is not, so far, proving to be a very good night for Labour" (Professor John Curtice, Strathclyde University, on the May 2014 local election results)

As the polls close ...

The polls are now closing in the European and local elections and the Mayoral referendum in Copeland. I am heading down to the verification for the European election and count for the Copeland Referendum, having been on the go for about fifteen hours (since 5am this morning, with two short breaks.) I have been very proud to be part of the 2014 Conservative European campaign team in the North West, in which we have fought a positive campaign and for which so many people have worked so hard. I do not know how well we wil do but I do know that every seat we win has been richly deserved in terms of hard work. There are also signs that the mayoral vote in Copeland has produced a higher than usual turnout in the borough and inspired considerable interest from local residents. Whether it is the pro- or anti- mayor supporters coming out to vote, or as I suspect perhaps a bit of both, it is a thoroughly good thing that more people are taking an interest. Let us hope, whichever system is

Five hours to use your vote

Because of a one hour gap between blogger time (apparently GMT) and BST, this post may appear to have gone up at 4pm but it is actually 5pm. Which means, if you have not already done so, five hours to vote in the European and in some areas local council elections which close at 10pm. Almost everyone who has lived in a coutry where they have been deprived of the vote realises just how much that right to vote means. It is your right to use your vote however you wish, including by abstaining. But you will not hurt politicians by declining to use your vote today. You will, however, lose the opportunity to use that vote for whichever party is closest to your own views.

Quote of the day 22nd May 2014

"In retrospect I can see the language I used and ideas I alluded to may be perceived as rather strong." (UKIP candidate Gordon Ferguson, who is standing in the Cambridge ward in Southport, on the letter he sent to voters accusing the Labour, Conservative and Lib/Dem parties of treason, suggesting they should be executed for it, and warning voters that if they support those parties they were also guilty of treason. His defence was that he has not had media training.)    

Remember to vote today

Polls are open until 10am today in the European election, elections for many councils, and Copeland's referendum on whether to have an elected mayor in place of a council leader Whatever your view, please find time to vote today

BoJo writes: remember to vote tomorrow

London Mayor Boris Johnson writes     Quick question: what time are you going to be voting tomorrow?   Polling stations are open from 7am, so you could swing by before work, or on your way to drag the dog round the park?   You could leave it until later, after lunch maybe, or on your journey home in the evening? The polls are open until 10pm, so you could even pop in after a quick post-work trip to the pub.   Whatever time you vote, just make sure you vote Conservative.   Only the Conservatives have a plan to deliver real change in Europe, and bring powers back to Britain and away from Brussels.   Only the Conservatives will give you an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU.   Share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter today , and let everyone know that you'll be voting Conservative tomorrow:     These elections are going to be incredibly close - and your vote could make all the difference. So please make sure a trip to the polli

Election issues: Digital rights

·         The Conservative Party supports an open, innovative and safe internet , promoting growth and freedom of expression, where legitimate business can thrive and citizens can express their culture and develop their creativity.         We are clear that human rights apply online, as well as off line. The UK is an active supporter of multi-stakeholder governance of the internet and we welcome Tim Berners-Lee’s recent initiative of a dialogue about the web we want.

Election issues: Copyright

·         The UK government has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on EU copyright rules. Its response takes account of a 2013 public call for views on copyright in Europe and representations from stakeholders on the consultation itself. The UK response stresses the importance of copyright, the UK’s desire to see a robust, flexible and modern copyright framework, and the need for any proposals to be grounded in good evidence.

Quote of the day 21st May 2014

Former Labour advisor John McTernan shows why Labour does not deserve your vote tomorrow. This may or may not be a "gaffe" in the sense of a politico accidentally saying what he actually thinks but the important thing is that it demonstrates a mindset. As I said when he first made the comment during discussion of this year's budget, perhaps it should not just be a quote of the day, but of the week, month, year and century. "You can't trust people to spend their own money sensibly" is a perfect summary of what is wrong with the socialist worldview.

Election issues: Taking back powers

·        It is only the Conservatives that have a credible plan to reshape Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and to put this to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. ·        Britain needs people in Brussels who will stand up for our national interest. We understand and share people’s concerns about the European Union. The EU is not working for Britain – it must change. ·        Our businesses value the single market but they find the degree of European interference excessive. People are worried that Britain is being sucked into a United States of Europe; that may be what some others want, but it is not for us. ·        They see decisions being taken far away, rather than by their elected representatives in Parliament. And they worry that European rules have allowed people to claim benefits without ever working here. As a result, democratic consent for Britain’s membership has worn wafer thin. We are fighting to renegotiate Britain’

Pots and Kettles four ...

Labour has been condemning Zero-Hours contracts and promising change. Guess which group of 62 employers hire some of their own staff on zero hours contracts You guessed it:      62 Labour MPs!

Quote of the day 20th May 2014

"No, I know that Jim is doing a good job for Swindon and I think he is doing a good job as leader of the council." (Ed Miliband) "But he is not leader of the council is he Mr Miliband? It’s a Conservative led council." (Ben Prater, BBC Journalist) From Ed Miliband's radio interview on BBC Wiltshire today, to which you can listen below by clicking on the red loudspeaker button. To me what made this damaging was not the fact that Miliband forgot the name of the local Labour leader, which was embarrassing but is the sort of mistake anyone can make. It's the fact that he tried to bluff it out and pretend that he understood the first thing about local Swindon politics when he clearly didn't.

Election issues: Health and Nursing

Health is a national competence ad we do not think it would be in the interests of patients to see decisions in this area move to the EU. Conservative policy on Health and Nursing is as follows: ·         Having sufficient numbers of well-trained nurses is of course critical to providing the compassionate care that patients deserve. ·         Although the government has taken difficult decisions on the deficit it has been able to protect the NHS budget, allowing the NHS to employ record numbers of nurses. ·         Increasing nurse numbers in our NHS. There are more nurses in our NHS than ever under Labour meaning patients get the care they deserve.  According to the latest statistics there are 313,302 nurses, midwives and health visitors – 2,509 more than in May 2010 – meaning families can have peace of mind that their loved ones will be taken care of properly. ·         Reducing the number of NHS managers. The government is also working to reduce the numbers of ma

Quote of the day 19th May 2014

"Cabinet Minutes should reflect the lies which were actually told at the time, not the lies people wished they had told afterwards." (Norman Tebbit)

Election issues: Offshore Wind

·         The UK has some of the best wind resource in Europe. The UK has 20 offshore windfarms (including the 4 largest farms in the world) and a 3308MW capacity. ·         Since the first UK offshore wind farm was built over a decade ago, offshore wind has evolved to become a large-scale commercial renewable technology with an important role to play in the government’s long term plan for a balanced low carbon electricity generation portfolio to help meet our 2050 carbon targets. ·         The UK has supported the development of a sustainable offshore wind industry and recognises the large scale investment and commercial opportunities which this industry presents. ·         We want to see UK-based businesses grow to create a centre of engineering excellence that delivers cost reduction for UK projects and exports to overseas markets.

Anyone can make a mistake ... don't make one by voting UKIP

Nigel Farage has admitted that he regrets his comments about Romanians, saying "sometimes we get things wrong" Anyone can make a mistake - DON'T MAKE ONE BY VOTING UKIP

Comparing Romanians and UKIP MEPs

Hat tip to Tyron Wilson (@TyronWilson) on Twitter for this graphic comparing the percentage of prisoners from the Romanian community with the percentage of UKIP Members of the European Parliament who went to prison ... It isn't quite a like for like comparison: a closer one would be with the percentage of Romanians in the UK who are in prison which he says is 0.44%.

Campaigning in Southport tomorrow

During the last general election my UKIP opponent, Edward Caley-Knowles told a hustings debate organised by Churches Together in Keswick that the late Ted Heath should have been hanged for treason. In the area where I will be campaigning tomorrow afternoon, it would appear that some other Kippers want to extend that to all members of the Conservative, Lib/Dem and Labour parties, and possibly anyone who votes for them. I will be delighted to campaign tomorrow in Southport with local Conservative council candidates. All over Twitter this afternoon is a letter from one of their UKIP opposite numbers who apparently wrote that the Conservaties, Lib/Dems and Labour have, quote, "conspired with a foreign power, the EU"  and are "all thereby guilty of treason" and that those responsible for that treason  "should be hung by the neck until dead." They also threatened voters that "If you vote for any of the three Lib Lab Con parties you will be

DC writes: vote for Real Change in Europe on Thursday

Prime Minister David Cameron writes:   Make no mistake: the next few days are crucial. Next Thursday, we have the chance to vote for real change in Europe - and an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU. But only by voting Conservative.   Throughout this campaign, we've seen that Labour and the Lib Dems won't stand up for Britain, and UKIP just aren't serious - they make a lot of promises, but they simply can't deliver.   So in these final few days, we need to talk to as many people as possible about our plan to deliver real change in Europe.   Share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter today and let everyone know that only the Conservatives can and will stand up for Britain:     As well as the vital European and local Elections, we have an important by-election in Newark on 5th June. We have a great candidate in Robert Jenrick, and we need every Conservative to get behind his campaign. So please volunteer to help out, e

Quote of the day 18th May 2014

"It is scrutiny by the general public that keeps the powerful honest" (Heather Brooke)

The truth about the EU accounts - £6 billion spent in error in 2012

I took part in a debate on BBC Radio Manchester last Thursday at 9am in which one of the issues raised was the EU accounts. It was suggested by the UKIP representative that the EU has not even filed accounts for many years, which is nonsense as they have indeed produced and filed accounts, while the Lib/Dem representative said that the accounts had been signed off but the Court of Auditors had raised concerns about how national governments spend money. This is true as far as it goes but gives an incomplete impression of the scale of the problem which the auditors have repeatedly found with the European Union's accounts. The truth is that for the past nineteen years the EU accounts have been signed off but qualified by the Court of Auditors who expressed serious concerns. They have indeed found issues with how EU money has been spent by member governments, and those governments do need to sharpen up their act, but that is not the only problem the auditors found and the EU instit