Skip to content

Day: March 6, 2012

A local (Lib Dem) success story – Little Treasures is saved!

As some readers may know I am standing for Southend Council in May and the ward which I am standing in has been in the news today. The Sure Start centre Little Treasures in Electric Avenue was set to close under that guise in the budget but that changed following parent power and a bit of common sense.

The centre will still officially be closed as a Children’s Centre but the Council along with the Elim Church will work together to ensure that the services currently provided by the centre are maintained. Whilst the 23 hours of weekly Sure Start care would be decreased to between 8-12 hours a week, that is by far a better alternative than closing it down altogether.

Now whilst the Echo are (rightly) saying that the Centre has been saved due to parent power I think it would be remiss of me not to point out the quite excellent work the Lib Dem councillor in the ward did. Paul Collins spent a lot of time organising a petition and spent even more time in the ear of the Tory councillor who is responsible for Children & Learning under the cabinet system of Southend Council.

He isn’t the only reason the centre will stay open but he did play a major part in ensuring that the services provided by the centre wouldn’t be lost forever and that is something that I think should be celebrated and commended.

These are the things that local councillors can do to help make life better for people locally. We often get worked up about the big national issues but for many people Sure Start is just as important as taxes and what the foreign policy is.

So a huge well done to all involved – from all the parents to Cllr Paul Collins and give Cllr Mark Flewitt his due for listening to what everyone was telling him and working out a way to ensure Little Treasures stays open.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

‘Students should face paying council tax, Lib Dems say’ scream the Daily Telegraph. Slightly misleading…

It is all going off. The Lib Dems hate the students. They are ready to screw them over even more. The other political parties are ready to jump on the ‘Lib Dems hate the students’ bandwagon and the Lib Dems are up in arms. However shall we look in depth at the story before we cast judgement? Shall we…?


The basis for the story is one single quote from the leader of Portsmouth City Council, ‘At the meeting, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Liberal Democrat councillors and head of Portsmouth City Council said: “Local authorities should have greater discretion over Council Tax exemptions and discounts, such as the student exemption”’.

So because one Lib Dem says that he feels theat he (as leader of the council) should have more powers to determine who gets Council Tax exemptions and discounts it suddenly means according to the article that the Lib Dems want to change the whole system of no Council Tax for students. I’m not sure that is how it works. As a member of the Lib Dems should I say that I think council’s should have the right to decide to give free jaffa cakes for every person who pogo sticked into Boots to buy a meal deal but managed to resist the Hoi Sin Duck Wrap would that suddenly mean that it is Lib Dem Policy?

I’m not sure that is how it works.

However basing a whole story around this one quote is quite something but there is one sentence in the piece that I am totally in love with:

‘It is understood that the Conservatives are strongly opposed to ending the student exemption on council tax.’

So there we go. The Conservatives love the students and the Lib Dems hate them and want to publicly flog them in the streets.

Seriously give me freakin’ strength.

Please feel free to read the whole piece over at the Daily Telegraph but trust me. The whole story is a joke and shows either a) extreme bias or b) the ability to stretch a quote and spin it in a way that Peter Mandelson could only dream of.

Council Tax will not become part of student life. It quite simply isn’t going to happen.

I’d expect better from a political editor on a national newspaper but sadly these people have agendas. Not only do they have agendas but so do their employers and sadly that means the press will never be free and open.


Just in from a Lib Dem spokesman.

“These minutes are not an accurate representation of what was a much broader policy discussion.

“Gerald is not in favour of getting rid of the student exemption. He is in favour of proper localism, where councils have the power to decide what is right for them in their areas.

“Neither the Government nor the Liberal Democrats are in favour of ending the student exemption.”

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

26 comments on why the Lib Dems are in big big trouble

I am going to post ad verbatim the 26 comments currently as of 12:16PM on the article in Comment is Free entitled Why I quit the Liberal Democrats over NHS reforms by Graham Winyard.

I think they are worth a read. What I get from them is that very few people are actually pro-liberal and more anti-Tory and anti-Labour. People want radical change and even though a coalition is pretty radical for Britain the people don’t see it as a coalition. They see it as a Conservative government and blame the Lib Dems for everything. Not sure that makes too much sense but still.

If the Lib Dems did kill the NHS Bill would that change the minds of the electorate or would they say the Lib Dems should have done it sooner therefore blame them for that anyway? I think that is a good question and I’d love to see the NHS Bill as it is written to die just so I could see what actually happened with the electorate. In a way I feel they have already made their minds up. The Lib Dems could cure child poverty in the UK and still not get any credit but hey ho.

Read on for 26 comments on why the Lib Dems aren’t exactly flavour of the month.

Comment 1:

The problem with the Liberal Democrats is that to attain their goal of Power they have become all things to all men (and women).

If the any Liberal Democrat MPs had any sense of Decency they would resign from this Perverted Coalition and bring the Government down so that the People could elect a more Sane replacement.

Comment 2:

You’ve just quit the Lib Dems?

What took you so long?

Comment 3:

Better late than never – let’s hope more in your old party are to follow.

Comment 4:

Fair play to you.
I do hope many others in the party will see sense.
But Ive a hunch they will do as they’re told by the toffs

Comment 5:

Mr Winyard

I wish there were more like you. The Liberal Democrats had the opportunity to really make a difference yet they chose to support the Tories come what may. The Liberal Democrats have made it possible for the Tories to start the destruction of the NHS. There are not polite words to describe my contempt for the leadership and the likes of Shirley Williams always trying to give the impression that she cares only to follow the Party line at the end.

Comment 6:

Well done, couldn’t have been any easy decision but at least you have principles & honor. I hope others will follow you & join to stop the destruction & privatization of NHS!.

Comment 7:

If they carry on like this then they will continue to haemorrhage support so that by the time of the next General Election they will have to change their name to the “Bugger All Democrats”.

Comment 8:

(Why I quite over NHS reforms…)

Because you acted with commendable altruism, in the interests of the patients to whom your professional life was dedicated in a solemn bond of care and protection. If politicians knew anything of the meaning of public service, this ghastly scenario would never have arisen.

Comment 9:

And I thought you were all in it together?

Too little, too late…

Comment 10:

You quit the Liberal Democrats as soon as you joined in coalition with the far right wing fanatics that the Tory party has become…

What is liberal about the reintroduction of slave labour?

What is democratic about imposing a tranche of extreme Neo-Liberal free market policies such as the privatisation of the NHS, the Police etc that wasn’t in any manifesto and wasn’t voted for by a majority of the electorate…

You and your ilk sold everything you professed to believe in for a sniff of power… and we won’t forget

Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion.

Comment 11:

Its a shame that there are not a few more, that have the morals and strength of character to stand up for the electorate.

Comment 12:

Then fair play and all due respect to you for taking a position in line with your principles.

Would that all politicians had such a sense of firm morality.

Comment 13:

I don’t know why you waited until our betrayal was completed by almost all of our MPs voting for the Bill. I say “our” but I left in late 2010 , convinced that we had sold our soul and got nothing in return.

I am still sure that there is no point in arguing from the inside – those inside , our MPs and Peers will be well rewarded with plum jobs in the City , in privatised firms and in consultancies. They have supped with the devil and they quite like his food

Comment 14:

Individuals quit the libdems but unless they are MPs that doesn’t help. The facts in this article were obvious from the start. And libdem opponents of the disastrous H&SC Bill should be in their Conference making trouble.

Comment 15:

The LibDems have played the game of coalition politics so badly its laughable. They’ve managed to deflect significant blame from the Tories (particularly in the early days) and provided a handy focus for frustrated labourites and their displaced rage at the unforgivable failure of New Labour’s historic opportunity.

What is amazing is the apparent failure by the leadership to anticipate any of this…

Comment 16:

Agree with every word Gordi.

Well done Mr Winyard for having the strength of your convictions – alas, I don’t think your actions will prevent this atrocious bill becoming law since your leader was seen vigourously in favour of it at last weeks PMQ’s.

On the LD front however, will the resignations of Mr Winyard, James Graham & Baroness Tonge be sufficient for Mr Clegg to recognise that becoming a tory is gong to disastrous for his party at the next general election.

I voted LD in 2010 – I never ever will do so again.

Comment 17:

I have just seen this footage of Lansleys visit to the Royal Free Hospital yesterday.

Found in the comments below

(there’s a big day of protest this Wednesday 7 March, including a march from BMA headquarters at 5:15 and from ULU student union about 5, a human chain around St. Thomas’ Hospital at 2, and a mass lobby of MPs during the day, with a rally at 6 in Westminster Central Hall)

Spread the word.

For anyone wishing to show support but who cannot get to London, there is a live stream of the TUC rally on March 7th & you can sign up to it here.

We must take the fight to the govt because if we don’t, out NHS as we know it will be gone before we know it.

Comment 18:

The Liberal Democrat conference is regularily ignored by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives that currently control them. It demonstrates how powerless regular members are.

I’d recommend active people join the genuine members of the Liberal Democrats who have already have resigned, staying maintains the illusion assisted by the conference, that the party continues exists.

The only purpose of the remaining rump of the party is to keep the Conservatives in power.

Comment 19:

Lib Dems seem determined to make themselves unelectable. They will be blamed just as much as the Conservatives for the NHS reforms – probably even more as their ideology is contrary to a large section of the reforms they are allowing through.

Whenever the do something contrary to they politics or manifesto they blame the “Coalition agreement”. They had to introduce tuition fees because it “was in the Coalition Agreement”. This document is the excuse for everything they do that is unpopular. Then maybe they should read the “Coalition Agreement” section on the NHS – which says they will “Make the PCTs the patients champions” (nothing about privatisation, no closing down the PCTs, no massive top down re-organisation). So when it suits Cameron the Lib Dems just ignore the document they previously claimed to be the justification for everything.

If they allow the NHS reforms bill through it will undoubtedly be the end of the party as any sort of force in UK politics. I certainly wont be helping distributing leaflets, knocking on doors, etc. Their support will quickly evaporate.

OK, Clegg probably has a safe Tory seat organised somewhere but most of the others wont. They need to grow some backbone and pretty quickly or we revert to 2 party politics in the UK.

Comment 20:

Couldn’t sit on your integrity any longer?

Comment 21:

You can follow LibDem issues on LibDem Act and hear the views of other LiBDem activists, councillors and even occassional politicians.

Right now I’m torn between going for Labour and hoping their vast army of socialists and union folk can restrain Millipede and his cronies from pursuing further privatisation of the school and NHS systems, or following the Greens, who will inherit many LibDem votes in English national elections.

As usual the progressive vote will be split between a Labour leadership who looks increasingly to neoliberal beuacracy and worthy though poorly supported or funded minor parties.

Whatever the outcome, we can all rest assured the LibDems will end up with between 3-7 MPs in 2015, as shown in most major polls, a dead parliamentaty party.

Comment 22:

The fact that you stuck with such a shameful, traitorous party for so long says a lot. However, late is always better than never. Glad you’ve seen sense, lets hope more do the same.

Comment 23:

I spoke to one of the delegates at the weekends Scottish LibDem Conference last night.

She wasn’t happy with what she’d heard, and she isn’t the only one.

I’ve already commented on the conference on another thread, and she confirmed my impressions – the LibDems are finished in England, and the only way they will survive in Scotland is by breaking away from the London HQ and forming a separate, genuine LibDem/liberal/Social Democratic party.
The chat in the bars was that English-based LibDems should do the same, and before 2015.
The support is there. It just doesn’t have any representation in Government.

Clegg, party leader and Deputy PM, received a lukewarm welcome – empty seats, and muted applause. Many simply sat on their hands.
I think it would have been the same no matter where he was appearing.

Other speakers were well received :

Alex Cole-Hamilton, for example. He said that the decision to join with the Tories was :

“…. a colossal sell-out in our decision to enter government with the Conservatives. Power – at any cost ! Two years in we know something about power, but a lot more about cost.”
He went on to draw comparisons with those genuine liberals/LibDems of the past with today’s leadership.
It wasn’t nice.

Nigel Lindsay weighed in with comments about the abandonment of LibDem principles and policies, and how this has :

“…. caused bewilderment and dismay to many members…”, and to emphasise the point, he then listed all those abandoned policies and principles.
That wasn’t nice either.

Scotland has a long history of liberalism, especially in rural areas, and in 2010 the LibDems returned 11 MP’s to Parliament, and 9 were from rural constituencies.
A year later, the effects of the sell-out became obvious, and a mere 5 LibDem MSP’s were elected to Holyrood.
The LibDem vote had collapsed.

Those 11 MP’s will cease to exist in 2015, no matter what the result of the referendum is, but the feeling coming from the weekend conference is that some Scottish LibDem MP’s are already looking for safe Tory seats in England.

That’s how Clegg and his team are seen by the grassroots, and it will get worse.”

Comment 24:

I voted Lib Dem last time…. never again!

We’ve seen the Lib Dem poll number sink from low to mid 20s pre-election to single digits now. Not only did they totally trash the student supporter base they had so carefully and patiently worked to build up, they are now sitting next to a bunch of vipers who are selling off *all* the family silver without one word of consultation with the public.

I suspect any Lib Dem who defects now believes it’s over for their Political career anyway, so something must inspire them to do it and that’s not self interest. What have the ones that remain got to loose by clinging on? Sadly what we will not see nearly enough is of admissions similar to the writer above – it’s human to be misled, it’s human to make a mistake, but when the government proceeds to force on with Policies like the ones they have that are so fundamentally damaging to our country, we must assume those Lib Dem MPs have the same agenda as the Government – trash the country and flog the contracts quick. I wish any decent Lib Dems left out there finally twig the country needs saving from this administration and call time on it…. we will be 20 years recovering from this mess if they don’t!

Comment 25:

Strange. A mate of mine who has been a Liberal (and all its subsequent incarnations) since 1965 left the party the day Clegg simpered with Cameron in the garden.

Comment 26:

Yes, quitting the party seems to be an act of principle which others could follow if they listen to their consciences rather than the government propaganda.

It won’t change anything, though, will it?

Gordon Brown answered a legal challenge to the fact that New Labour put the party manifesto through the same shredder which ate Tony Blair’s expenses dockets with:

“The electorate cannot realistically expect a political party to honour its promises.”

The smoothly airbrushed face of Cameron looked down on the filthy little people from the billboards and they believed that the NHS would be safe in Neo Nasty hands.

This is part of the biggest heist in history.

This is the state abandoning the people and selling them down the river.

This is the insidious, ideological handing over of the welfare system – which everyone paid for over two generations – to the private sector.

This is UK Plc being absorbed into GlobalGov Corp.

This is part and parcel of the privatisation of the police and the enslavement of the people to £ multi-billion international corporations.

This is all possible because we live under an elective dictatorship which is forever owned by big business, whether the party in nominal power wears the rosette and bears the logo of Tory or LibDem or New Labour.

We have all seen the future – and it doesn’t work.

Which will not stop the government from ploughing ahead.

Because, to them, the will of the people and any and all professional groups you care to line up against them really don’t matter any more.

Try changing the government next time we all trundle out to vote and see what difference it makes.

As Peter Mandelson said, we are now living in a post-democratic age.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Athletes of London 2012 for the love of you know what – don’t shake hands!

Yes folks The British Olympic Association’s Chief Medical Officer Ian McCurdie is concerned that athletes might be nice to each other and be true sportsmen and women only to receive deadly infections from each other and ruin our chances of sweeping the medal table.

I know it sounds like I’m joking but actually I’m not. That is what he had to say (albeit with a pinch of paraphrasing). The headline on the BBC Sport website is London 2012: Team GB ‘should avoid handshakes’ at Olympics and the story goes on to quote this guy saying that shaking hands with fellow athletes increases the risk of transmitting infections and therefore shouldn’t be done.

The greatest threat to performance is illness and possibly injury. We are talking about minimising risk of illness. It is all about hand hygiene.’ says Mr McCurdle.

He goes on to say the following later in the piece:

‘Being at an Olympic Games means you are normally inside a bubble and so there is effectively quite a limited number of people that you interact with when you are away in another country.

‘In London we do not believe that is going to be the case. The variety of people the athletes and support staff are going to interact with is going to be huge.

‘At an Olympic Games or any major event the performance impact of becoming ill or even feeling a little bit ill can be significant.

‘Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistance. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen. Hand hygiene is it.’

I say that is nuts. Crazy as Patsy Kline would say. Yes his point is valid that infections are often spread through hands but does he want the athletes to wear disposable gloves when opening and closing doors to ensure that they don’t get infections that have been left on door handles?

Give me a break. If this is the kind of world we live in then the world has indeed gone mad. Infection prevention over being a good sportsman or sportswoman, that is what Ian McCurdle thinks but he’s just so far off the mark that he can’t even see the mark.

The Olympics are about celebrating what is good and right with the world of sport and not shaking someone’s hand because you might get an infection from it is certainly not what is good and right about the world of sport.

Sometimes I just cant believe people either a) think these things or b) saying say them out loud.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.