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