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 .