Last night I joined Maria Hutchings (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) and her team for some campaigning in the Eastleigh Constituency. Maria has worked so hard in Eastleigh over the last two years and she has a real prospect of defeating Chris Huhne - at the General Election whenever that may come. We found many new Conservatives last night and got such a warm welcome on the doorstep. The people I speak to are saying to me that the Conservatives are ready for Government - and can't wait for a General Election.
Party Conference Season is upon us and in two weeks time I will be up in Manchester at the Conservative showpiece - this week however the Liberal Democrats are in Bournemouth.
On a day when a Poll conducted for the BBC's Newsnight programme - showed that over a third of British Adults do not know who Nick Clegg is the Lib Dems were trying to get their policies across to the British public. At a national level many people who vote Lib Dem - do not know what they stand for, I know I have spoken to them on the doorstep. Many people will vote for them because they see them as a middle ground in fact they are not and that was proved today. This week gives the Lib Dems an all too rare a chance to get their message across - but paradoxically this proves negative for them.
Today they revealed a new property tax, a charge of 0 .5% would apply to the value of a property above £1m. So if a home was worth £1.5m the 0.5% tax would apply to £500,000 of it, meaning the owner will have to pay £2,500 a year. They claim that by taxing the middle classes and the rich even more they will be able to help those on the minimum wage. However people can see through their policy and understand that taxing the wealth creators even more is not good for the economy as a whole. On another note as Iain Dale says - "just because you live in a big house it doesn't mean you can find another couple of grand to pay the taxman. What about a retired couple who have lived in a house all their lives and never dreamed it would become so valuable? Where are they supposed to come up with the readies from? Well, where? I'm waiting...".
Nick Clegg adresses his troops: Source Telegraph Blogs
Sorry I haven't updated the blog in a while. August is a sort of mini recess in the Council World - with a break in most meetings. It doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything though in fact I have been as busy as ever. I have been following through various pieces of casework in Alamein Ward as a result of residents responses to our Intouch Publication. These range from housing issues to fixing the road, cutting back trees and removing graffiti. All this coupled with a new full time job has ensured a busy end to the summer.
On the national stage as we move into the Conference Season - there has been some interesting revelations taking place. Gordon Brown has used the 'C' word for the first time 'Cuts' - and finally admitted that its not just a straight choice as he used to put it between Labour investment and Tory cuts - both parties will have to make cuts in order to try and balance the nations books, which he has ruined over the last ten years. On another note it is the first day proper of the Lib Dem Conference today - and there will be comment about this posted tonight.
Sorry I haven't updated my blog in a while I have been on my holidays. I combined a four day break with my love of football this week as I visited Holland and showed my support to the English national team who played a friendly in Amsterdam on Wednesday night.
I have a letter published in the local press today - which fleshes out some of the details of the Community Respect and Environment Week held in Alamein Ward last week. It gives a list of key achievements - plus an invitation to let me know of anything further that needs doing in the Alamein Ward to improve the environment.
Here it is;
LAST week (3 -7 August) saw the Test Valley Borough Council led Community Respect and Environment Week (CREW) come to Roman Way and Cricketers Way in my ward. It was a great event with various agencies including the police, the DVLA, Twice as Nice and Mencap joining TVBC officers and neighbourhood wardens on the stand outside the Tesco Express on Cricketers Way. Events like this are fantastic because they really bring the community together and certainly the people I spoke to last week were enjoying themselves. On a sunny Monday over 40 children joined in on a litter pick on the playing field and again over 40 children took part in the football event on Friday afternoon. I was able to get down there on a very wet Tuesday morning joining council officers talking to the public about recycling and again on Wednesday knocking on doors in Roman Way with PCSO Snudden. We chatted to people about the environment they live in, about crime, neighbourhood watch and community safety. The week wasn’t just about talking though there was some very practical measures being taken to improve the area, these included; Some 1,410 kg of fly-tipped waste removed, six abandoned wheelie bins removed, the DVLA issuing 25 no tax tickets, 38 graffiti jobs passed onto the team for action, 800 kg of shrubs removed in tidying up the footpaths outside Shepherds Spring Medical Centre, the grounds team cutting all the open space in Roman Way and Cricketers Way, the police deploying their automatic number plate recognition device and a car with no insurance was seized and several tickets were handed out.
As a local councillor there is only so much you can see and get sorted when you walk around the ward – but with a team of people you can really blitz a specific area and improve the environment. It does not stop here though – if there is anything you feel that could do with improving in the Alamein Ward please contact me. My email address is Cllrpnorth@testvalley.gov.uk and my phone number is on the Test Valley Borough Council website.
This week sees Test Valley Borough Councils CREW (Community Respect & Environment Week), come to my ward and more specifically Roman Way and Cricketers Way. It is a great event with various agencies joining in and engaging with residents. We have Council officers talking about recycling and giving away some freebies, our Community Safety Team and Neighbourhood Wardens knocking on doors asking about any major issues, the police running beat surgeries and representatives from Twice as nice chatting to people about their furniture collection recycling service. The Neighbourhood Wardens and the PCSO's are also organising sports games throughout the week for the children to participate in. The full programme of events is set out below. Whilst this is going on we have teams cleaning graffiti, picking up litter, tidying footpaths and cutting back untidy hedges.
I was out this morning under the gazebo (as it was raining) outside the Tesco express at Cricketers Way talking to people & the Wombles (see picture below) of what can be done to improve the area. So if you have some spare time this week do pop along have a chat and have some fun at the same time.
With the Wombles from 'Twice as Nice'.
Programme of Events
Tuesday 4th August Recycling Awareness The stand outside Tesco will offer advice to people about waste and recycling issues. Testway Housing's 'Twice as Nice' scheme will also be there promoting their service. This is a free collection service to take away any unwanted items of furniture.
Wednesday 5th August Crime Prevention Squad Police will be promoting safety issues with the local crime prevention officer. There will also be a chance to meet representatives from a range of local agencies.
Thursday 6th August Police Street Meet Officers and PCSOs will be on hand to chat to local people about their concerns, crimes and give advice on various issues.
Friday 7th August The information stand will be open for the final day outside Tesco Express.CREW is closed All through the week there will also be teams out litter picking, road sweeping, grass cutting, removing fly tipping and dealing with environmental issues.
Today I joined some fellow Councillors, Asda staff, helpers and Test Valley Borough Council employees - in a clean-up of Anton river between the two bridges by the Asda store.
It gets cleaned once every two weeks by our environmental services department - but today we blitzed it with about 12 of us. We retrieved 14 dust bin sacks full of rubbish, 2 trolleys, a bike and a traffic cone. The wellies I was wearing didn't exactly serve their purpose when I encountered the deep bit and the water flooded over the top. Despite this it was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon - whilst doing our bit to clean up the local area.
Chloe Smith has just been elected the new MP for Norwich North with a fantastic majority of over 7,000. That is a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of about 16%. Chloe and the team fought a fantastic campaign and with much support from the voluntary party across the whole country.
I visited Norwich on Tuesday to help deliver pledge leaflets - it was an excellent well organised campaign. I am sure Chloe will fulfill her promise of being a strong, independent voice for Norwich. A clear message has been sent to Gordon Brown today - that not only are the Conservatives ready for Government, the people also want them to Govern.
Yesterday I accompanied Juliet Henderson & Rodger Jones from the North East Hampshire Constituency to Norwich North to help in the by-election.
It was a wet a muggy summers day, but it was a great day and with fantastic camaraderie we got through a lot of work helping our excellent candidate Chloe Smith. After a good 3 and half hour drive from Hampshire to the Sector 2 office in Norwich - we set about delivering pledge letters. Fighting through the on off showers and stopping for a quick sandwich we managed to do a good four hours delivery - to help get Chloe's message out to the people of Norwich.
The News of the World published these results of an ICM Poll on Sunday on how they predict the percentage of the vote to break down;
Tories – 34%
Labour – 30%
Lib Dems – 15%
Greens – 14%
It is very close and still all to play for - I expect a Conservative Victory overturning the 6,000 - Labour majority though. I will put the results on here when they come in either late Thursday night or Early Friday morning.
This afternoon I hot footed it back down to the South of the Borough (after being in Stockbridge this morning), to join some of my fellow Councillors in Romsey Abbey to Welcome back home the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a very moving service - especially remembering those three Soldiers of the regiment that never came back. After the Abbey it was back out onto the street to watch the regiment exercise their freedom to march through Romsey. Every shop was decorated with the Union Jack and school children and adults alike waved the Union Flag as the troops received a well deserved round of applause. Our troops serving our Country - are the bravest and the best in the World.
Welcome to my blog in which I will be posting updates of what I have been getting up to as a Borough Councillor, Political Commentary & Political Opinion on the National Scene. Feel free to comment on any of the posts.