Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tories and LibDems reject free parking in Coalville and Ashby

At tonights budget meeting of North West Leicestershire District Council the Tories and Lib Dems showed their true feelings about struggling residents, tenants and businesses in the district.

In recognition that our town centres are struggling Labour had managed to put together realistic proposals to introduce first hour free parking to our market towns without the need to cut customer facing services.

When I spoke at the meeting I pointed out that although Labour had first introduced parking charges circumstances in the intervening years have changed beyond recognition and we must be big enough to realise our towns desparately need help to survive in the worst economy for generations.

Instead the local Tories and LibDems preferred to increase reserves, watching on whilst yet more businesses close.

It's so sad that local politicians, including those who are local traders, couldn't put their partisan differences to one side for the benefit of struggling families and businesses.

In a separate measure Labour formally proposed a reduction of 10% in Councillors 'special' allowances. Once again local Tories preferred to protect their own pockets and rejected the proposal rather than showing that we really are 'all in this together'.

Although the Tories have turned down this proposal I have already shown that actions are worth more than deeds by advising the Council Monitoring Officer that I will voluntarily renounce 10% of my allowance. Will any Tories follow suit? I doubt it.

Finally, in the face of Labour opposition we witnessed the Tories vote to increase council house rents by a massive 8.25%.

Sadly only Labour seems to realise how local people are suffering, it's such a pity that the Conservative administration and lonely LibDem don't seem to care.

Faith Tax E-Petition

Back on the 28 January I blogged about the arrival of a 'Catholic Tax', a plan by Leicestershire County Council to charge parents of children attending faith schools £490 per year for a bus pass.

Many people have expressed their outrage to me and to give people a chance to register their protest I have created an e-petition on the Council Council website.

You can sign the e-petition by clicking here.

If you believe that Leicestershire County Council should not remove the current assistance with bus passes then please sign the e-petition and remember to tell all of your friends and other contacts.

Petitions DO work but ONLY if they have widespread support.

The results of the e-petition will be reported to the Council Cabinet in May but the actual petition closes on 2 April so time is of the essence if we want to influence the future of faith school transport.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Andrew Bridgen's shoddy judgement?

Back on the 10 June last year the Coalville Times reported that our MP, Andrew Bridgen, had commented that NHS reform must be forced through and that '(he felt) that if we fail to go through with these reforms, we are caving into Stalinist protectionist elements...'.

Of course a lot has happened since then. Not least that Mr Bridgen's own Prime Minister acknowledged that the then proposals needed further reform.

But the Conservatives are still getting it wrong and if anything opposition to the Tory proposals has hardened.

Masses of professional bodies, trade unions and other interested groups have lined up to speak out. Accordingly to one blog the list of organisations against the bill include:

  • The Faculty of Public Health
  • The Royal College of Nurses
  • The Royal College of Midwives
  • The Royal College of GPs
  • The British Medical Association
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • The Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • The Royal College of Pathologists
  • The Royal College of Physicians
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • The Royal College of Radiologists
  • The College of Occupational Therapists
  • The British Dietetic Association
  • The United Union
  • The Institute for Healthcare Management
  • Unison
  • MiP
  • GMB Union
  • The College of Occupational Therapists
  • The Community Practitioners and Heath Visitors Association
  • The Financial Times
Are all of those bodies Stalinist protectionists?

But it doesn't stop there.

Today the Tory arch-blogger Guido Fawkes reported that according to a YouGov survey a massive 45% of TORY voters are against privatisation in the NHS.

Are all of those voters (let alone LibDeb or Labour or non-partisan voters against the measures) all Stalinist protectionists?

But it still doesn't stop there.

Earlier today the Conservative Home blog, darling of the Tory right and incidentally the exact same website that Mr Bridgen originally made his 'Stalinist' comment reported that 3 unnamed Conservative cabinet ministers were against further reform.

The blog said that one minister was saying 'the Bill must be dropped', another that 'Andrew Lansley must be replaced' and the third likened the proposed reforms 'to the poll tax'.

Are your own Cabinet Ministers Stalinist protectionists Mr Bridgen?

The proposed reform is massively unpopular, even with Tories - and that is in it's watered down format.

Mr Bridgen was WRONG last June, time has proved that.

With his comments Mr Bridgen showed just how bad his judgement is, something many of us have maintained for ages. He was out of touch with the public then seeking to blindly follow right-wing dogma and hasn't sought to track back since.

Our NHS is a national treasure it's just a shame that Mr Bridgen and his colleagues seem hell bent on destroying it.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ferris Bueller in middle age

One of the formative films of my youth was 'Ferris Buellers Day Off'.

It's one of the reasons I love Chicago so much - reliving Ferris' day.

So I was interested to see what Ferris looked like in middle age... and here it is courtesy of Honda for their superbowl add which will be shown during tonights game.

I'm not going to say whether it is good or bad (because I can't make my mind up), but here it is for your enjoyment....