Saturday, 3 October 2009

New Website

I have now transferred my blog to my new and improved website - go to

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Canvassing in Eastleigh

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.
Maria Hutchings

Monday, 21 September 2009

Its Conference Season

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

Gordon uses the 'C' Word

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.

Friday, 14 August 2009


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 and my phone number is on the Test Valley Borough Council website.

Cllr Phil North, Alamein Ward.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

CREW Roman and Cricketers Way

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

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.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Anton River Clean-Up

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.
Cllr Lynn & Myself in Anton River

Friday, 24 July 2009

Chloe Smith Wins Norwich North

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.

Chloe Smith giving her acceptance

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Norwich North

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.
Chloe Smith

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Bravest & The Best

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.

March Past in Romsey

Job Clubs & Youth Groups

This morning I was at the Grosvenor Hotel at Stockbridge and sat in on the Test Valley partnership education & learning meeting. I was there to discuss and to help bring forward the setting up of two jobs clubs serving the boroughs residents as a result of the responding to the recession conference in which I raised the idea. Things are taking shape and with the help of a lot of people and organisations who have put in an awful lot of work - we are looking to go live in September. watch this space for more information.
After the meeting I shot back down the Valley to Andover to drop in on the Askalot community shop in King Arthurs Way. It was full of young teenagers using the computers, and the staff there are doing a wonderful job. After that it was down to Roman Way - to visit a resident who has been asking me about some sort of further community provision on Roman Way - which I am also working on. Again that will be updated here.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Cantari & Carnival

It was once again a busy weekend, Councillors Surgery on Saturday morning, where I spoke to many people and helped them out with issues that they raised. Remember if you wish to visit Councillors surgery we are in the Guildhall the 1st and 3rd Saturday in the month and in the Rendezvous every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. It starts at 10am and goes on to midday.
On Sunday I went to the Winton Conservative Branch fundraising event - and enjoyed an afternoon of cantari singing. The Cantari singers were fantastic and did a good job battling the wind, rain and sirens to deliver a great performance. After a quick chat with every one over a scone and a cup of tea - I hot footed it into town with the Deputy Mayor to watch the carnival procession come into Vigo Park. The carnival was great this year and there was a real party atmosphere. One of the highlights had to be 'Thats Centretainment' winner Jamie Walsh - singing on stage, she was excellent. After chatting to the stall holders it was over to the beer tent for a swift half and to shelter from the inclement weather, before heading home.

The carnival parades into Vigo Park

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cut the Quangos

Last week - whilst I was once again on my soap box arguing that Quangos should be cut down and accountability returned to politicians - somebody asked me what a Quango was. No just what it stood for - it may be hard to remember that the acronym stands for Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation, but what they actually where. It is surprising that in a day when Quangos have so much of an effect on peoples lives they don't know what they are.
Today David Cameron will lay out his plans to cut down on Quangos - to return the Policy making function to politicians - not unelected bureaucrats.

Friday, 3 July 2009

How can we make Local Governmnet more accountable?

I have a letter published in the Andover Advertiser today about making local Government more democratic and accountable. Here it is;

Dear Sir,

It was great to see in a recent edition of the Andover Advertiser the ideas of Conservative politicians Daniel Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP were being talked about. In their book the Plan; twelve months to renew Britain they set out a whole range of reforms to make sure Parliament is more accountable not just a creature of the executive – they promote the shifting of power from the state to subjects; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain and one of the most important, from Central Government to Local Government.

In this very newspaper we saw a bit about their campaign for more effective Local Government. At the moment and thanks to a decade and a bit of Labour, Local Government is on its knees. They have transferred power to unelected & unaccountable regional agencies; they have transferred power to the quangos. Much of what local government does – not by any means all - is to have to take a lead and listen to these unelected bureaucracies in which government has entrusted its power. The result of this is a decision making process that isn’t local – and all local politicians say is “we had to do this we had no choice – it has been forced on us by government”. In this scenario no-one is accountable and we wonder why there is little turnout in Local elections. I am sure local politicians of all parties and none would support a more democratic outlook. Carswell & Hannan are proposing we change this and I for one support their ideas, to; Abolish regional development agencies, regional government offices and transfer power to local councils; scrap the department of communities and local government and pass its powers to local authorities; grant English Counties and Cities responsible for all areas of policy which under the 1998 Scotland Act are devolved to the Holyrood Parliament – thus solving the West Lothian Question.

You may think I am supporting this because I am a Local Councillor and I want more power – nothing can be further from the truth. I want Local Government to be more responsible, more accountable, if the electorate believes that a particular governing party (whoever they may be) are not doing a very good job – then they can throw them out at the ballot box – because ultimately with increased powers that authority would be responsible.

Cllr Phil North

Alamein Ward

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Yes Vote in Town Council Referendum

The results of the Community Governance Review (referendum) were declared today, in which Test Valley Borough Council asked the people of Andover whether or not they wanted an Andover Town Council. Andover is currently the only un-parished area in Test Valley. Test Valley Borough Council were required to carry out the CGR (referendum), after receiving a petition of over 10% of Andover's electorate who said they supported the idea of a Town Council.

My view all along and I have voiced it on a number of occasions is that I am not convinced that Andover needs a Town Council. It has its benefits, it would inevitably create some civic pride, it could make comment on planning applications, it could raise funds and provide some local services however it would create an extra level of politicians, may cost more and have a limited say on major issues. While my own personal view is not a strong yes it also not a strong no - and I said if the people of Andover wanted a Town Council then I would be prepared to support one.

Today we have seen that 61.2% of the people that responded to the referendum support the setting up of a town council compared to 38.8% who have said no. I am of course disappointed that turnout was only just over 15% - but that tells me that 85% aren't concerned either way or they would have taken the time to reply. Therefore I am prepared to accept that it is the will of the Andover people to set up a Town Council and will be voting that way when it goes through to full council.

50K re-furb for King Arthurs Hall and Atholl Court Area

At a meeting of Test Valley Borough Council's full Council on Monday I asked the Housing Portfolio holder Cllr Sandra Hawke about a capital grant to be spent improving the Atholl Court shop area in King Arthur’s way as part of the Turnaround project. The Turnaround project has been a great success and I very much welcome this cash injection of 50k to improve the area. I asked her, what was being done? What consultation had taken place? And when the work was due to start?
This was her response;

"This money is allocated for repair and refurbishment of King Arthurs Hall, and the enhancement of the area around Atholl Court shops. These properties are owned by TVBC, and since the start of the Turnaround Project, and subsequent formation of the Community Association, the Hall and the successful Askalot shop are increasingly used as expanding community facilities for the Alamein ward.

Informal consultations were held with the Community Association and local people using both the Hall and the shops, to ask what they saw as most needed, and as a result the upgrade will include new windows, with shutters, the main entrance, upgrade of toilets, external lighting and general improvement to the outside areas. The first phase of the upgrade will begin as soon as the plans and costings are completed”.

When the plans are completed I will update you on when the work is due to start and the exact details of what is proposed.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Armed Forces Day & Alamein Branch Fundraiser

It was a very busy day yesterday - I started off the day visiting the display stands and chatting to people in Vigo Park for Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day was launched by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, some say one of the only successful things he has done for this country. Anyway I digress the intention is that Armed Forces Day, which focuses on our surviving veterans, will complement commemorative events and become as familiar and respected as Remembrance Sunday which, quite properly, remembers and honours those who died serving their country. At 10.30 on Sunday morning Vigo Park was packed with people enjoying the sunshine, looking at Army Vehicles, speaking to Veterans & learning about some of the support organisations.

It was then a quick hop over to Enham to enjoy our Alamein Conservative Branch Pimms event. We also opened this up as a thank you to all those who helped in the recent Andover North election. After speaking to residents about local issues and having a quick bite to eat - I then hot footed it back to Vigo Park for the open air church service. Where the Veterans and the public joined in with Hymns such as 'I vow to thee my Country' & 'Jerusalem'. They then paraded back through the town.

All in all it was a busy but hugely enjoyable day.
The Red Devils Parachute in

Friday, 26 June 2009

Speakership Election

Sorry I haven't updated the blog in the last few days - I have been away the early part of this week, but I just wanted to make a quick comment on the events of Monday evening in the House; the election of a new speaker.
Of course I was supporting Sir George Young - and I think he would have made a great speaker, so you may feel I am being a little biased - but the events in the Palace of Westminster never cease to amaze. Parliament has just faced some of the toughest weeks in its history in terms of public confidence in politics and politicians, and still hasn't come out of that crisis. The expenses scandal was a complete gamechanger in terms of the Local elections and European Elections earlier this month. MP's disposed with the last speaker to make a clean break to try and increase confidence again - but what did they go and do - yes vote for a divisive character. John Bercow is loathed by a majority of Conservative MP's and almost crossed the floor to the Labour Party, so when he put up for speaker, Labour MP's saw this as a way of getting at the Conservatives in revenge for leading the coup to get rid of Speaker Martin.
A Speaker should command respect across all sides of the house and it is clear by the way many Conservative MP's refused to clap his election and the subsequent plottings to try and set out a way to get rid of him after the next election, that this is not the case. Parliament had an opportunity to try and drag itself out of the mire - but I feel they missed that opportunity. We will wait and see what happens next.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Campaigning in Gosport

After a hard days work - I went down to Gosport this evening to do some canvassing. They are fighting a by-election at the moment after the two sitting Lib Dem Councillors (husband &wife), resigned their seats and emmigrated to Australia. Justin Henshaw & Brian Taylor are standing for the Consevatives in the Brockhurst ward, election day is July 9th.
I met up with hard working Constituency Chairman - Alan Scard, and two others and we canvassed for a good couple of hours. We were very well recieved and spoke to many Conservative Supporters. Considering this is Sir Peter Viggers current constituency (the MP that submitted a claim for a Duck House), the expenses issue wasn't that prevalent on the doorstep - although of course some people did bring it up. People are starting to again be more interested in which local councillor is going to get a pothole fixed, a grass verge cut back or their sign repaired. I am sure the Conservative Candidates will make great local Councillors for Brockhurst.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

We have heard tonight that the expenses crisis has claimed the ministerial and parliamentary career of yet another MP. Kitty Ussher has tonight resigned from the Government and says she will step down at the next general election, after allegations she flipped her home to avoid capital gains tax. The story will run in tomorrow mornings telegraph.

The extraordinary thing about this resignation though is that she was a minister in the Exchequer. A minister responsible for tax - has been caught out avoiding just that; paying tax.

Ex- Exchequer Minister Kitty

Meetings & Fundraisers

It been a busy week so far - I picked up quite a few casework items at Councillors Surgery on Saturday, ranging from housing to environmental issues, so I have been busily sorting them and writing letters to constituents (unlike Mps - us local Councillors cannot rely on our office staff to do our administration for us, we have to do that ourselves). I had two meetings on Monday night one was the Overview & Scrutiny - Concessionary Travel Panel and then I went on to the Andover District Executive Scout Council which I voluntarily sit on.
After a busy day Tuesday - it was off to the curry house for a fundraiser put on by the Harroway Branch of the local Conservatives. It was really well organised by the hardworking Harroway chairman Karen Hamilton so thanks go to her. We enjoyed great curry (courtesy of Mr Iqbal - Curry Garden), great company and of course no Conservative Party fundraiser would be complete with out the traditional raffle. Tonight I am off to the Grosvenor Hotel Stockbridge for a fundraiser for the Romsey and Southampton North Constituency - so no doubt another raffle beckons.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Councillors Surgery & Enham Alamein Fete

As it was my birthday on Thursday I went out with some friends last night to take in the Andover night 'life' - and after a good night got in, in the early hours of the morning. I was up early today however as I had a surgery - and after a double strength black coffee to wake me up, I was ready to take up the problems and concerns of the people of Andover. I have quite a bit of work to follow up early next week.
After surgery it was a quick trip home to change - and then I went straight to the event - that is great for any politician to go to, the local village fete. It is a great place to have a bit of fun, speak to everyone, and off course its a great excuse to buy a cake!!

A sunny day in Enham

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A busy birthday

After a late night last night - returning from Wembley on a National Express Coach (because of the tube strike), I woke up this morning starting my 25th year. While I will allow myself some celebration of my 24th Birthday tomorrow night - I have had a busy day today carrying out Council activities.
One of the major committees I sit on Overview & Scrutiny - which holds the cabinet to account, had a days conference today - where we looked at what we need to look at in the future and improving structures for more effective scrutiny. After that I had a meeting of the Northern Area Planning Committee - where we discussed some interesting applications. After that there was some quick time to grab a piece of birthday cake - before now engrossing myself in Question Time.

Why do we keep talking about the BNP?

The first question on Question Time tonight was about the BNP. In a week - where there is more important things to talk about, public spending plans, the tube strikes, the job cuts in Cheltenham & Gloucester, swine flu etc - why are we still talking about the BNP. They won two seats in the European Parliament out of 69 MEP's we returned to Brussels, and on less votes than they got in 2004.
The reason why they got elected was because turnout was down - and because they kept being talked up. When you get leading Labour Ministers saying before the election 'saying whatever you do don't vote BNP' - people thought well if they are saying don't vote for them - then I am going to go out and just bloody do it.
Anyway - I myself have spoken too much about these left wing ignorant fascists. So am going to leave it there.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sir George throws his hat in the ring

Sir George Young - MP for North West Hampshire today announced on his website and with an article in the Times Newspaper - that he wants to declare his candidacy for speaker of the House of Commons. The vote is due to take place on 22nd June.

The times article is on his website here:

Sir George Young

Euro Elections

Well some of the Political Blogs predicted it (most notably Dan Hannan) and they were right. Before I went into the count on Sunday night I said to my colleagues the same thing that it will happen. The local returning officer then set out how the count was going to take place. With 14 different parties and a ballot paper the size of an unravelled piece of toilet roll, it was going to take a military operation to sort out. He said "we will sort the ballots into the four main parties - The Conservatives, UKIP, Lib Dem & Labour and have a fifth pile for others. The others will then get sorted out into ten different piles". What a mistake he made - the Labour Party should have been included in the others pile and the Greens to have a separate pile for themselves. For it did happen the Labour Party came an amazing fifth in the South East. Incidentally they also came fifth in the South West and if you take just Cornwall they came sixth behind the Cornish Nationalists. Not since 1918 has a major political party done so badly in a set of national elections. Nationally they got just 15.7 % of the vote. Labour is on its knees but Gordon Brown lives to fight another day.
The only disappointing thing amongst fantastic night for the Conservatives who came first in Wales- was that my friend Therese Coffey missed out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 5,000 votes across the whole of the South East.

The Full results - % share of votes:

Conservative -27.7 %

UK Independence Party - 16.5%

Labour - 15.7%

Liberal Democrats - 13.7%

Green Party - 8.6%

British National Party - 6.2%

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Election Success

After a 17 & half day hour day on Thursday - delivering last minute leaflets and knocking on doors encouraging people to go and vote; it was Friday morning the count was taking place, and what a success.
Locally we held on to our two Andover seats - Andover South & Andover West and gained Andover North from the Lib Dems. The hard work from our Candidate Pam Mutton paid off - and she is already getting things done for our local residents.
Nationally - the Conservatives took Staffordshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Councils from Labour - which had run all of them for more than 25 years - as well as Devon and Somerset from the Lib Dems. The Conservatives polled 38% of the Vote, the Lib Dems 28% and Labour an historic low of 23%. Gordon Browns position is now on a knife edge - I suspect he will now survive but if the European results are worse than his own backbenchers can bare - there may well be an internal putsch. I am attending the Euro Count later today and will update the blog when the results come in. I am personally keeping my fingers crossed that our former-North West Hampshire Constituency Chairman - Therese Coffey will be elected an MEP for the South East Region.

L - R, Janet Palmer, County Cllr P Mutton,
County Cllr D Kirk & County Cllr P West.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Gordon Brown is Finished?

1 day to go until the election - and what a day it has been. We have been working hard doing lots of local campaigning in the three Andover Divisions, meanwhile in Westminster Gordon Brown is clinging on to his job as Prime Minister. Many Political commentators are saying tonight that that it is even odds that the PM will still be in his job next week. Gordon Brown has lept from crisis to crisis - and his Cabinet is now resigning all around him. Many of the personnel that are left are in a position to demand which job they want - otherwise they will leave the cabinet completely, in which Gordon Brown will have no authority left. We may see another first Lord of the treasury sooner than we all expected and Alan Johnson could well be opening that door to No. 10.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Perils of being a Postman or Politician

2 days until go until the election, and after undoing and then closing countless gate latches, knocking on literally hundreds of doors, delivering thousands of bits of paper, enduring the sapping sun throughout this campaign I was finally forced to stop (only for an hour max), as I encountered a dog who obviously lives under the letterbox.

No sooner as I had pushed the leaflet gently through the letterbox pushing aside the draft excluder- one of our canine friends took a huge bite of my finger. After the initial shock and some cursing - I desperately tried to prevent the other leaflets in my other hand turning red. A feat in which you will be pleased to know I succeeded in. After a bit of a patch up I was out delivering again - but with a more cautious approach to what could be behind each front door. I suspect every postman and politician in the land has suffered the same perils.

I am now fighting fit and will continue with my efforts tomorrow, to help get Pam Mutton elected to serve the residents of Andover North but hopefully tomorrow will be a less eventful day than today.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Labour Face Obliteration

It has been a frantic day today - its election week and I have been working incredibly hard in Andover North supporting our fantastic candidate Pam Mutton, knocking on doors - delivering leaflets & putting up posters. Its going to be a hectic but enjoyable week.
I commented yesterday on the poll in the Sunday Telegraph that put Labour on 22% - but today that has got considerably worse. There is a IPSOS MORI poll out tonight - and I know that this refers to a general election - that puts Labour on an Amazing 18%!!! (-10%). Dissatisfaction with this Government is now at an unprecedented low .

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Canvassing in King Arthurs Way

Yesterday I was out canvassing in my ward in King Arthurs Way, for the Andover North Division - promoting our excellent candidate Pam Mutton. It was a glorious day - but the weather obviously affected at least one person. I was shocked to hear on the door, their response to the question do you think you can support us this time? - which was three words I hadn't heard of put so blatantly throughout the whole campaign - which were "Im voting Labour". Well I was shocked, shocked not only that they wanted to support the Labour Party, but that they admitted to it. Something that has been unheard of on the doorstep in recent weeks. The poll out this morning in the Sunday Telegraph compounds this - it puts the Labour Party below the Lib Dems, "Asked who they would support in a general election, only 22 per cent of voters back Labour, with the party slumping behind both the Conservatives on 40 per cent and, crucially for Mr Brown's future, the Liberal Democrats who are on 25 per cent".
The mood on the doorstep for the Conservatives is very positive - many people opened the door saw the blue rosette and said "we will be supporting the Conservatives" or "we have already voted for your party by post". People are in the mood for real change and they want to send Gordon Brown a message this Thursday - that the country needs to change direction.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Cunning Plan

After My previous blog post - suggesting David Cameron has taken up the Douglas Carswell & Dan Hannan Mantra, which they set out in their brilliant book, the Plan. Dan Hannan has of course pointed out this very fact - please see his blog (it is also on my blog roll) at: Dan Hannan has also written a longer article about this in the Daily Telegraph tomorrow (Wednesday 27th May).

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Cameron sets out Carswell & Hannan Mantra

"If we want Parliament to be a real engine of accountability, we need to show its not just a creature of the executive" - This is what David Cameron states in his article in the Guardian today, and amen to that.

The crisis in our Westminster politics at the moment has lead to a real will for change, to make Parliament be more accountable to the the people - this can only be done by increasing the power of the legislature over the executive. David Cameron set out many measures today similar to that, that Douglas Carswell & Daniel Hannan have said for a while now, that power should be redistributed:

From the state to subjects; from the government to parliament; from whitehall to communities. From the EU to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy.

  • Conservatives believe in a small state - they believe in pushing power downwards - they believe in localism and Cameron has grasped this oppurtunity. So what does this all mean in real terms what would he do if he was Prime Minister, well he has set out some clear proposals for change. These include:
  • Limited the power of the PM, by giving serious consideration to fixed term Parliaments

  • Proposing to give MP's free votes at the committee stage of bills

  • Boosting the power of backbench MP's by giving them the power to choose the chairs and members of commons select committees.

  • Curb the power of the executive by limiting the use of Royal Perogative that is accustomed to the role of Prime Minister

  • Publish the expenses claims of all public servants earning more than 150k.

  • Stengthen Local Government by allowing Councils to overturn whitehall decisions - such as to close postoffices or local services, by giving them the power to raise money to keep them open.

  • Advocating the use of open primaries when selecting party candidates for a general election.

These bullet points are by no means going to solve everything that is currently wrong with our democracy, but they are a start and if Cameron continues down this pathway - then that will only be for the benefit of us all.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Don't Waste Your Vote on UKIP

Sorry I haven't updated the Blog in a few days - Its my Dads 50th Birthday tomorrow and the family have come down to Padstow for the week to celebrate. Bad timing yes, a week and a half away from poll day in the County and European Elections but brilliant fun all the same, and a nice break to be fighting fit for those 14 hour days that will come in poll week.
Driving down the A303 and the A30 into South West England - One thing that kept me occupied was counting the amount of election posters for each Political Party. Obviously not a complete science and by no means a judge of how people will vote in the forth coming elections, but it does tell you a little. If you agree to have a massive poster on your property then lets assume you do more than just vote for that party - therefore if you are an activist you are doing more to try and get out the vote for that particular party, and you are more likely to persuade others to vote that way.
Here are my findings - they make interesting reading:
Labour: 0
BNP: 1
Lib Dem: 2
UKIP: Over 20
Conservative: Over 50
The first Conclusion (not assumption) that can be drawn from this is that in the South West and South East Region - if we look at the European Elections, Labour faces obliteration, Secondly the Lib Dems won't do much better, thirdly the good people of Britain will see through the far left BNP - and lastly the fight will be between the United Kingdom Independence Party & the Conservative & Unionist Party.
In Cornwall itself I have seen masses of Conservative and UKIP posters - I did a spot of fishing today on a fishing boat and the skipper had a UKIP poster, urging people to support them.
However who in their right mind if they believe in a better deal for Britain would vote UKIP. The Conservatives are the only Party in town to Stand up to the European Union. Here are 10 Reasons why you shouldn't put your cross in the box for UKIP:
1) UKIP have let down their previous supporters. They returned 12 MEPs in 2004, but completely wasted their opportunity. Their MEPs have been characterized by in-fighting and scandal; as a result, one third of their MEPs have left or been expelled
2) UKIP Badly let down British fishermen when they failed to oppose a plan put forward by Spanish and French MEPs to scrap the Shetland Box, a protected fishing zone for British vessels .
3) UKIP have failed to crack down on EU fraud and corruption one MEP has been sent to prison for benefit fraud and another is under investigation by the police over fraud allegations.
4) UKIP have failed on their promises—they said they opposed new countries joining the EU from Central Europe because it would lead to a ‘flood of migrants’ that would be ‘bad for Britain’. But their former leader Roger Knapman MEP was revealed to be employing Polish builders to renovate his home.
5) UKIP have failed to oppose barmy EU regulations including a directive to monitor whether employees were exposed to too much sun.
6) UKIP let down small firms when they failed to support plans to cut EU red tape.
7) UKIP have failed to convince their own supporters—Robert Kilroy- Silk joined UKIP in 2004, but left a year later, describing the party as ‘a joke’ that he was ‘ashamed’ to belong to.
8) UKIP have failed to promote British businesses — for example, they have voted against an initiative to ‘name and shame’ countries that fail to apply the common rules of the EU’s internal market and against calls to open up global markets with a new world trade deal
9) UKIP’s leadership have failed—the former chairman of UKIP in Wales has said: “the moral integrity of a number of people at the top left much to be desired.”
10) UKIP have failed to stick to their guns—UKIP leader Nigel Farage surprised many in a debate in the European Parliament with Tony Blair when he said “If you can reform the European Union, Mr Blair, then I may even change my mind and think it is worth staying”
To have a Look at the Conservative Party European elections Manifesto go to:

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Victory for Parliament

Over the last decade we have seen the growth & growth of the executive at national level - whilst the power of the legislature and Parliament overall has diminished. Today however we saw a victory for the Gurkha's and a victory for Parliament. Today the Government finally completed its 'U' Turn and granted permission for all Gurkha's who served for a continuous period of four years pre 1997 to be able to reside in this Country (post 1997 Gurkha's serving are already able to come into this country to live). It is only right and proper that anybody who has laid their life on the line for this country - should be able to live in this Country. This came on the back of a high profile campaign fronted by Joanna Lumley and of course by that Vote in Parliament when the Government was defeated by 267 votes to 246. After that the Government had to follow the will of Parliament and the will of the people. Victory has now been secured.

Canvassing in Whitchurch

This afternoon - I took in the Whitchurch Sunshine as I went canvassing in the County Council Division of Whitchurch & Clere. I have been campaigning in Whitchurch quite a bit in the last few years - mostly helping Bill Judge fight the Borough seat - but this time I was out with Tom Thacker County Council Candidate, and the view on the doorstep was quite different. As the expenses scandal runs and runs - there is a surprising amount of people that now say I am not going to vote for any of you - you are all the same. This might be because they feel that no matter where abouts on the ballot paper they put their cross - local politicians don't have the power to really change their lives. Too much power is entrenched at national level or with the quangocracy, rather than the local politician. Alternatively and its one of the points Dan Hannan picks up on his blog today - the people that now say they won't vote, probably wouldn't anyway - but they now have the confidence or the anger to tell you.
All in all though it was a good afternoons campaigning - not a Labour Voter in sight, and plenty of Tories.

Cllr D Drew, Tom Thacker & Myself

Moats, Manure & now a Duck House - what will come out next?

Yes it has now come to light that a Duck House, a Duck House! Is the latest outrageous expense claim submitted by one MP. A Duck house - a small structure on an Island in a pond is designed to keep the ducks free from foxes. This does seem unlikely that this was required in order for that particular MP, Sir Peter Viggers to fulfil his duty in Parliament. I know we have seen some very dodgy expense claims come to light over the past fortnight - but it begs the question, not just why it was submitted in the first place, but what were the fees office doing in approving it?
However for this Tory MP his Parliamentary Career is now over. David Cameron was said to be extremely angry about this claim and immediately took a firm stance. Either Sir Peter Viggers stands down at the next election or David Cameron would withdraw the Party Whip. He will now stand down at the next election.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

We Must Now Have a General Election

And there we have it - the Speaker has said he will step down and it is not before time. His statement to the house didn't cut any mustard yesterday and instead of saying that he was prepared to stand down at the next general election which may have diffused the situation some what, he decided to say nothing. The nano-second after sitting down he came under a barrage of pressure from MP's urging him to go. It was an amazing lack of judgement on his part, which inevitably lead to his resignation today. He will stand down on the 21st June - in order for a new Speaker to be elected on the 22nd June.
I don't believe the argument that he is being treated as a scapegoat for the expenses scandal - I believe that he had to go not just because of the way he spoke to Kate Hoey in the House but so we can now have real reform - in which the legislature is more powerful and accountable to the people.

Undoubtedly the main issue on the doorstep is the expenses scandal I was out talking to people in my Ward yesterday - and I was out in Roman Way again this morning. People are very angry and they have the right to be so. Weather some of the more unjustifiable MP's expenses were cleared by the fees office or not - it should be the responsibility of every MP to justify what they have claimed - their claims should be in the spirit of the rules as well as the letter of the rules. Many MP's claims, not a majority, but many, were obviously not in the spirit of the rules. That is why we need a general election and we need a general election now. MP's would then have to justify their expense claims to their local parties - who may choose to deselect them if they felt it was appropriate but more importantly the people would have the chance to throw out their MP at the Ballot Box if they felt their expenses weren't justifiable.

The House of Commons has become a very discredited place - and only through a General election can we focus politics back on to the real issues of the day and that being the economy and the financial situation.

Lets have a General Election now - sign for change at

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Should the Speaker Step Aside?

Speaker Martin - has been a controversial figure since day one. After the retirement of Betty Boothroyd in 2000, most Conservatives thought the recent alternation between speakers from the two main political parties should continue. However the Labour majority made sure that Michael Martin would hold down the role. It has been suggested from some quarters that Martin hasn't been as impartial as he should be, regularly showing this just as much against Labour Backbenchers trying to criticise the Government as against opposition MP's.

Leaving the whole Damian Green affair aside for the moment (where the speaker had a large part to play in allowing the police to search through the Commons offices of the MP - where there was confidential constituency casework), this weeks debacle where the speaker resembled more of a shop steward than the speaker for the house, has lead to serious calls he should resign. In responding to a question put by Labour backbencher Kate Hoey when she said the inquiry into who leaked the expenses documents to the Daily telegraph was an awful waste of money - he had this to say:

"I listen to you often, when I turn on my television at midnight, and I hear your public utterances and your pearls of wisdom on Sky News. It's easy to talk then. Some of us in this House have other responsibilities."

A shocking outburst - and one that may be the final nail in his coffin. Tomorrow Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, will put down a motion of no confidence in the speaker and he says he has growing support for this. In another twist to the story Nick Clegg has come out and stated that the speaker should resign as his position is untenable. In becoming the most senior politician and first part leader to criticise the speaker this will undoubtedly increase the momentum in moves to unseat him.

As much as I think the speaker should go - I suspect the speaker will survive the motion of no confidence - but he will not stand again after the general election.

Speaker Martin

Saturday, 16 May 2009

What a glorious feeling - just canvassing in the rain

What dedication form our Andover North Candidate, Pam Mutton and of course from our local MP - to go out canvassing on a very wet Friday night speaking to the good people of Roman Way. We were faced by the challenge of quite heavy rain last night - but that didn't deter us. Unlike the cricket yesterday rain did by no means stop play. The look of shock on some people's faces when they saw their MP, County Council Candidate & Local Councillor on the doorstep - looking like drowned rats was quite amusing. They admired our dedication though and we were able to communicate our message of what we have been doing to combat anti-social behaviour in that area.

In a week where the news has been literally dominated by MP's Expenses - and as I said yesterday the main issue on the doorstep, it was nice to Canvass alongside Sir George Young. I am reliably informed that some County Council Candidates across the Country are asking their MP not to come out campaigning with them as they don't want to be associated with the bad press associated with expenses. That was never going to be the case with our hard working MP. His expenses have been published on his website for the last four months. He was telling people that the Conservatives are in favour of a change in the system and that David Cameron's stance of making Conservative MPs pay the money back where they have submitted an unjustifiable claim was the correct one.

All in all a good evening canvassing - we will be knocking on a door near you very soon.

Cllr P Mutton, Myself & Sir George Young MP

Friday, 15 May 2009

Canvassing in Penton & Weyhill

After recovering from an extra long planning meeting last night - I am today launching my blog - in which I intend to post updates of what I have been getting up to as a Borough Councillor, Political Commentary & Political Opinion of the National Scene.
Yesterday I was out canvassing with my fellow TVBC Councillor Colleague Ellie Charnley and County Councillor Pat West, who is seeking re-election in the Andover West Ward. Pat has been a Borough and now County Councillor for many years and commands so much respect from residents on the doorstep due to her fine record of getting local things done.

The main issue on the doorstep and I imagine this is the same for all parties out canvassing at the moment - is undoubtedly MP's expenses. It is shocking what some MP's have been up to, not all I must stress, and it is also shocking that in some cases the court of public opinion tars all polticians however minor with the same brush. I personally do not claim any expenses from the council. I do take up my allowance which is just over 6k a year ( not at all enough to pay one mortgage, let alone one on a second home) - but I don't claim for any fuel expenses etc, etc. In terms of the Westminster state of affairs it is a system that has to be changed and I think David Cameron has shown some real leadership on this matter in the last week. For the good of everybody in this country I hope it gets sorted as soon as possible.

Overall though it was a succesful day - with a great level of support for the Conservatives. From the people I speak to it is not just that they want to send Gordon Brown a message at these Local & European elections - they genuinely want a Conservtive Government so change can happen in this country. Im off later on to do some canvassing in my own patch with our fantastic candidate for Andover North Pam Mutton.

Cllr E Charnley, County Cllr P West & Myself