In this blog I will be giving my political opinions on both issues at home and abroad. I will also focus on the issues that affect the people of Ipswich and in particular those who live in Rushmere Ward. I will also try and give an insight to how I will be campaigning in Rushmere and Ipswich as we fight against the savage cuts imposed by this Tory Government
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Tory run Suffolk in a pickle!
The 'do nothing' party seems to be getting ready to start 2009 with some idea's. Now don't get excited, they don't seem to have done much research into them as you will see with the latest one.
The Times online has the story that a Tory Government would cut the salaries of 'fat cat' Chief Executives of Local Authorities. Now you would think that would seem like a good idea, especially to the Tory faithful, and by looking at the comments at the end of the 'Times' story, it seems the blue rinse brigade are keen on this plan.. I am sure they will be joined by all the readers of the Daily Mail. But this is when research may have been useful. Of the eight highest paid Chief Executives in the country, six are at Tory run administrations!
So why wait till after an election, Eric Pickles - get your Tory run councils to cut these salaries now. Oh that is the problem, they like to pay high salaries to the likes of Andrea Hill in Suffolk and at the same time cut services to those who need them most.
Yes it is that Andrea Hill- Suffolk (Tory run) has the second highest paid Chief Executive in the country.
Andrea Hill giving Eric Pickles a call?
So if Eric Pickles can't even get 6 Tory run administrations to cut the salaries of 'fat cats' how the hell are they going to control those in the City!
Back to the drawing board Mr Pickles.
Friday, 26 December 2008
Why are we in Afghanistan?
With the number of casualty's we are suffering, it is only right that we question why we are fighting in Afghanistan, but I believe we are right to be there and here is one more good reason why we are needed.“You have until January 15 to stop sending your girls to schools. If you do not pay any heed to this warning, we will kill such girls. We also warn schools not to enrol any female students; otherwise, their buildings will be blown up.”
Plenty to read
It was our turn to entertain the family this year and my wife did a fantastic job with the cooking and we all had a good time. I received some brilliant presents including a pub quiz and some pickled eggs!
But my favourites as always were my varied selection of books. which I thought I would list and then it will serve as a reminder to make sure I read them all.
Two military books: Andy McNab and is latest offering "Seven Troop", I like his factual books and as with "Immediate Action", it has plenty on his time with my former regiment - The Royal Green Jackets. I also got some pre tour reading with a book about Afghanistan and the recent British Operations - "A Million Bullets" by James Fergusson.
My usual assortment of sports books, and this time the more humorous side of football with two books from the "When Saturday Comes" stable. "Learn to speak Capello" by Tim Bradford and "Scenes from Football History" by Dave Robinson. I also had a football trivia book by James Dart, "The Knowledge" and "Ipswich Town - On This Day" by Dan Botten.
My final book this year was my only fiction with Cris Ryan's "Firefight".
Now I just have to find time to read the as I have also three football games to watch this week and I have to start delivering the Chris Mole calenders to the constituents of Rushmere ward.
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
The cartoon is from Walter Crane, more famous as a contributor to English children's literature, he was also a notable socialist.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Dodgy "Charity collection" on Ipswich streets
Often the leaflets even state they are collecting for a Registered Charity. The Foundation were registered with the Charity Commission but are to be struck off as they have not even filed any accounts for last year. the firm collecting the clothes are 'Fortune International' who hail from Bedford. They blame the charity but when pushed they said all they had given the charity was a total of £600 in a year. Not much when they are out every day collecting over most of East Anglia.
The licensing department at Ipswich Borough Council are aware of this firm and they have not applied for a license, more worrying is that they believe this firm may even pick up bahs from doorsteps that are meant for respectable charities!
Advice= If in doubt when reading a leaflet, contact Ipswich Borough Council Licensing Department or the Charity Commission and pass on this information to other residents. Charities need all the help we can give them and getting rid of firms like Fortune International will help.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Billy and the A13
Last month I blogged about the Billy Bragg concert at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich. As i have already mentioned it was brilliant but!
there is aways a but... He never sang his tribute to South Essex/east London and in particular the A13. Now it may have been because he thought we would have preferred a song about the A12 or the A14 (or A45!).
Well thanks to the brilliant blog, 'The Poor Mouth' - you all now have a chance to hear Billy wax lyrically about that great road!
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Granted a 'Leave of Absence'
Last Wednesday the Full Ipswich Borough Council granted me a 'leave of absence' for 11 months. this will enable me to keep my place on the council if I am mobilised in January to join 2 Rifles on a planned tour of Afghanistan.
I thought it may have been a quick decision, and as I had to leave the chamber, I did not think I would be out of the room long. But a debate was had and two of the Lib Dems abstained and one even spoke against allowing me to retain my post.
I can understand some people finding it difficult to vote for me to leave if they are against our presence in Afghanistan but I was surprised that they actually spoke against it.
But I am led to believe that our group leader, David Ellsmere spoke very powerfully for me to be allowed to stay on as a councilor and also from the opposite benches, Steven Wells also spoke up for me and so it was nice to have cross party support.
My Labour colleagues will continue to campaign in Rushmere whilst I am away and take on my ward work and the two Conservative councillors for the ward have also offered to take on any outstanding case work.
I am not sure when I am off, or even if I am definitely going but until I do I will continue to work for my constituents, on Saturday I was delivering budget leaflets in the ward and this week I have 3 committee meetings at Grafton House.
Once I have definite news on my mobilisation I will inform my constituents.
"Magic" Jim no longer?
We all can find it hard to move on, or know when it is time to give up. This afternoon I was conned into playing sevens rugby, and at 46 when the next oldest player was about 26, not the most sensible of idea's! We came second, "The Dueling Badgers" that is. (I know-stupid name) But I have now officially declared that I am now retiring from competitive sport.
But it may not only be me who is finding it hard to give up. Jim Magilton, our Irish manager at Ipswich Town is determined to stay/hang on to his mangers post at the club. But many of us town supporters are coming round to the idea that a new man may be needed.
I loved Jim the player and I still admire his passion for the game and the club but tactics and man management need some work on.
So it may no longer be "Magic" Jim Magilton, but just plain Jim.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Back to the Army
Back to the Army and possibly Afghanistan!Some of you may have read in the Ipswich Evening Star that I may possibly be off to spend 6 months in Afghanistan . Currently I am going through the process of mobilisation hopefully to join the Infantry Battalion, 2 Rifles in the new year.
The Battalion are currently in Northern Ireland but have been warned off for a 6 month tour of Afghanistan and if deployed will be spending the Summer in Helmand Province.
I left the army 6 years ago so it is with a sense of trepidation that I await to join the Rifles, I had previously spent 24 years in the Royal Green Jackets. The Green Jackets reformed into The Rifles in 2007.
I will hope to keep readers of this blog informed about the training and what it is actually like in Afghanistan, on the front line.
Little did I know when serving as a young 18 year old Rifleman in 1980 that in 2008, I would be preparing to go on another operational tour.
I do believe we are making a difference in Afghanistan, we must not let that county fall back under the influence of the Taliban, you just had to read the recent news reports of the acid attacks on young girls to see why we must stay.
I am sure also that I am re-joining one of the best trained forces in the world and that coupled with the recent experiences of soldiers in Ireland, Bosnia, Kosova and Iraq will serve us well. one thing I know that will not surprise me, and that is the superb example young servicemen set for all the youth of this country.
It is not confirmed that I am going yet, and with army paperwork- anything could happen! Whatever happens I hope to be able to resume my council duties on my return, I will also hope to be able to go to local schools and organisations and give them an insight to life on the front line.
Fix My Street
You may have noticed a new link on the side of this blog to 'Fix My Street'. This is a website set up by 'My Society' and enables residents to report potholes, graffiti, street lighting not working and damage to pavements via the website to their local council. 'Fix My Street' then send an e mail to the local council and then you can use the site to monitor progress on that issue. and put on updates and even inform the site once the fault is rectified, you can also use the site to see what other issues have been reported in your area.
Now some councils are not too keen on 'Fix My Street' and there are those here in Ipswich who would rather see the back of it-why? well Ipswich has had the most reports sent to them recently by 'Fix My Street'. the current amount of reports sits at over 180, with only Falkirk and Kent County Council anywhere near that total. But Ipswich Borough Council should turn this round and see it as a plus point. A Council in Hampshire has linked 'Fix My Street' to their own computer systems and now can reply to the resident instantly and they use 'Fix My Street' as a public service.
Of course maybe the administration at Ipswich are not so keen as it shows that Ipswich does not get a fair deal when it come to money for road repairs from their friends at the Tory run Suffolk County Council!
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Billy Bragg warns the cynical!
Last night my wife and some other Ipswich Labour Party members went to see Billy Bragg in concert. the gig was held at the Corn Exchange and it was over 20 years since the last time Billy played Ipswich.
The night started with the talented and funny American- Otis Gibbs, who was a great warm up for Billy and has also left me with the desire to go to Cawker City, Kansas to see the largest ball of twine. You had to be there to understand!
Billy came on after the break and was still going strong at 10.45pm. A good mixture of new stuff, some old classics, and interspersed with humour and political thought. His last bit left the audience in no doubt that Billy wants to see a 4th term for a Labour government, and in his eyes it is only our own cynical attitude that can stop it.
So as Billy said at the finish-"Keep the faith!"
Sunday, 23 November 2008
George W Bush has left the White House
from across Pennsylvania Avenue,
where he'd been sitting on a park bench.
He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said,
'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.'
The Marine looked at the man and said,
'Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.'
The old man said, 'Okay' and walked away.
The following day, the same man approached the White House
and said to the same Marine,
I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.'
The Marine again told the man,
'Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer President
and no longer resides here.'
The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.
The third day, the same man approached the White House
and spoke to the very same U. S. Marine, saying
'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.'
The Marine, understandably agitated at this point,
looked at the man and said,
'Sir, this is the third day in a row
you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush.
I've told you already that
Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here.
Don't you understand?'
The old man looked at the Marine
and said, 'Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.'
The Marine snapped to attention, saluted,
and said, 'See you tomorrow.'
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Hitler on BNP list!
Friday, 21 November 2008
32 BNP members in Ipswich but 32 too many!
But even so it is interesting to see how many members of this "Far Right" party are in Suffolk and Ipswich in particular. According to local papers we have just over 100 in Suffolk and 32 either in or close to Ipswich. First of all this is 32 too many. But compared to other towns of our size it is a low total. But we must not get complacent, within the last two weeks the BNP have held street stalls in both Colchester and Harwich and earlier in the year held one in Norwich. There are over 600 BNP members in Essex, though many seem to be in the south of the county, with Loughton a surprising "Far Right" stronghold!
The current financial climate is just the sort of opportunity the BNP will use to recruit more recruits- we must make sure that does not happen and to do that we must (and in Ipswich WILL) continue to campaign all over the town and to continue to offer a good service to our constituents. Maybe if the Tories and Lib Dems also got off their backsides and campaigned as well, there would be even less opportunity for the likes of the BNP or UKIP to get out on the streets of Ipswich and peddle their lies.
As an ex soldier I was not happy to see a number of soldiers on the list, when I served in the Army, I was led to believe that you could not be a member of a political party but it seems now you can be a member but not an activist. I wonder what the Fijian and other Commonwealth soldiers feel about having a member of the BNP in their section or platoon!
Thursday, 13 November 2008
More old Labour pictures.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Giles cartoons: Drawn to Suffolk
Sunday, 9 November 2008
We will remember them.
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Ipswich Labour- helping Obama
John, Rushmere resident Julius and Obama poster!
Back on the radio!
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Soldiers remembered from Belfast to County Mayo
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Meeting the Duke
Yesterday I was fortunate to attend the presentation of Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards at St James's Palace to 350 young adults. It was a fantastic occasion both for the those receiving their awards and also their parents.
It may seem strange a socialist praising the monarchy but I see no problem in praising the Duke of Edinburgh for his patronage of the award that bears his name. I would also praise Prince Charles for his patronage of the Princes Trust. Both the D of E Award and the trust give youngsters the chance to show that they are a generation that has plenty to give back to the community.
I am fortunate to be able to help with the award and it was with considerable pride that I was able to witness Chris Hollins of BBC Breakfast TV present Gold awards to Felicity McNeil and Katherine Harris, two local girls who have both benefited considerably from participating in the award.
Felicity and Katherine with someone slightly taller!
Two other things stood out about the day. the Duke of Edinburgh has a fantastic knowledge of ties! He spotted that my tie was the regimental tie of the Royal Green Jackets and the second thing that stood out was how expensive jars of sweets in Fortnum and Masons are!
Friday, 24 October 2008
W. Oliver Stone film
Oliver Stone and the 'young' Bush
All over bar the shouting?
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Wrapping the Corn Exchange
Friday, 17 October 2008
Up on the Roof!
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Don’t Panic, We’re Doomed FTSE Animation
Posted using ShareThis
Check out this great amination from the brilliant Beau Bo D'or blog
Friday, 10 October 2008
Ipswich Labour - the sensible proposals for Unitary Ipswich
A Unitary Ipswich is the best way forward, a pity that the Tories and Lib Dems have now jumped on the Haven bandwagon- read our response- well written and the way forward.
Ipswich Labour Party's submission to the Boundary Committee has been posted on Ipswich labour Party's website here.
After being denied a vote at Ipswich Borough Council on the options put forward by the Boundary Committee, Labour councillors in Ipswich, supported by Ipswich MP, Chris Mole, and local Labour Party members delivered leaflets about the review to Ipswich residents encouraging them to respond either direct to the Boundary Committee or via the Labour Party Office.
Over 1200 individual residents did respond, with all but a handful opposing both Boundary Committee options. Ipswich residents clearly see the "North Haven" proposal as little better than a unitary Suffolk solution. Labour Group leader, David Ellesmere, also contacted every parish council in the proposed North Haven area and asked for their views on the proposals. No parish council that responded wanted their parish to become part of a North Haven council.
Ipswich Labour Party reviewed all comments received to inform its own submission to the Boundary Committee.
This submission was put in to the Boundary Committee ahead of the consultation deadline along with the views of all 1200 Ipswich residents who had responded to us. Responses received after the deadline have also been sent to the Boundary Committee who have confirmed that they will continue to accept late submissions.
Ipswich Borough Council Labour Group and Ipswich Labour Party support a unitary council covering the urban Ipswich area. Full details of the boundaries we propose are in the attached document "Boundary Committee Proposals - IBC Labour Group Response".
Ipswich Borough Council Labour Leader David Ellesmere said: "One of the key tests the Government sets for new unitary councils is that they command a broad cross-section of support. It is clear from the results of our survey that 'North Haven' and 'One Suffolk' overwhelmingly fail this test. The Boundary Committee must come up with new proposals that are acceptable to the people of Ipswich."
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Ipswich Tories put up a - 'Wall of secrecy'
Ipswich Borough Council has been attacked over a “wall of secrecy” surrounding plans to make £3.5m “savings” in the council’s housing services.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors took an “in principle” decision to go ahead with the massive savings programme at a behind-closed-doors meeting on Tuesday 7th October. A similar commitment was also made to pay consultants a substantial fee to deliver this programme. Before any discussion took place, councillors voted to ban members of the press and public from the meeting.
The Executive has even refused to release the report detailing what the cuts it plans to make to other councillors. Only those Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors who are on the Executive were allowed to see the report under conditions of strict security. In a bizarre twist it has also emerged that the leader of the Liberal Democrats was not even allowed to see the report.
The only Labour councillor who has since been allowed to see the report, Leader David Ellesmere, been gagged from speaking about the savings programme and threatened with disciplinary action if he discloses the report’s contents.
At a meeting on Wednesday the council even tried to remove members of the press and public from the room while a question was asked about this obsessive secrecy! The council only backed down after protests from Labour councillors.
Labour Leader, David Ellesmere, said:
“I’ve been told I am not allowed to say how the savings are going to be made, which consultants are going to be taken on, nor how much they are going to be paid. This is not the way decisions should be made. Council tenants will be extremely anxious about what these plans mean. If the Tories and Liberals don’t have anything to hide, why all the secrecy?”
Start of a new "Cod War" - Ipswich v Iceland!
Labour councillors want the investigation to focus on:
* Were the council’s investment procedures followed correctly?
* What impact this loss could have on council services?
* What steps have been taken to minimise future risks?
Labour finance spokesperson, Cllr Martin Cook said:
“This is a huge amount of money for the council to lose, equivalent to £125 per band D property. Ipswich council tax payers need to be reassured that procedures were followed correctly and that everything possible is being done to eliminate the potential for similar losses in future.”
Sunday, 5 October 2008
100 Years Strong- Centenary of the TA
He said his forces had "taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008" but that troops may well leave Afghanistan with there still being a low level of insurgency.
A vision for sport in Ipswich
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Fuel for thought!
I can understand that the political climate of the 1960's and the start of the troubles in the 1970's would lead some to joining paramilitaries on both sides of the divide with what they thought were good intentions such as feeling they were defending their communities but within a very short time both the IRA and the Loyalist organisations were taken over by criminal gangs. When I was in Ireland we often believed that the rival sides were in collusion when it came to criminal activity in Belfast but it seems that even the supposed Republican stronghold of South Armagh are working hand in hand with the Loyalist gangs of West Belfast.
This BBC news story here details recent arrests in Loyalist West Belfast at a suspected illegal fuel dump, with the smuggled fuel originating in Republican South Armagh.
I spent many months watching fuel tankers move across the South Armagh border and we knew that some of the profit from selling this fuel would end up in the IRA war chest but not many of us would have thought it would have also been helping fill the pockets of Loyalist terrorist gangs.
So forget this romantic views of Michael Collins, Freedom fighters, the majority of the members of both the IRA and the Loyalist gangs were nothing more than gangsters.
A fuel tanker leaves the complex owned by Slab Murphy on the South Armagh border, after a raid by Police from both sides of the border in 2006. Slab has been accused on a number of occasions of being a senior member of the IRA Army Council, wonder if any of his fuel ended up on the loyalist Shankill Road?
Monday, 22 September 2008
Ipswich show the way in campaigning.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Vote for Roy Burgon
On Monday myself and a large group of Ipswich Labour Party members joined our comrades from Woodbridge and Felixstowe in campaigning for the Labour candidate, Roy Burgon.
It made a nice change from trampling the streets of Ipswich and we were treated to a beer and some lovely food afterwards- so it was not all work!
It is also important that even in an area that would be seen as Tory- we are sending out a Labour message and not just giving up on places like Woodbridge, that is the sort of policy that has led to the Tory Party still totally missing from area's like Liverpool and large parts of Scotland. After reading the Tory leaflet it makes one even more determined that we should continue to fight all seats in Suffolk. It was a leaflet that on one side made no sense with what looked like an attack on the Lib Dems but making no mention that it was the behaviour of the Tory Councillor that had caused this election. More strange is that the Tories have a different candidate for each different council. On arriving in Woodbridge it was nice to see a Labour poster up in a house opposite Notcutts Nursery.
A good night but one did go away feeling that it is the party members in Woodbridge who are being let down by the behaviour of some of our parliamentary members- I am not asking for MP's to just always toe the party line, but it does seem that once the going gets tough there is little loyalty shown by many MP's.
Maybe instead of going to conference, they should be sent out to campaign in seats like Woodbridge and actually listen to what the voting public and Party members want rather than be panicked by the (a Tory run) press.
Woodbridge- not known as a Labour heartland?
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Good and bad politicians.
Andew Duff the Lib Dem MEP who doesn't know how many days he works!
To read more abour Richard Howitt and the good work he does, check his website, here.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Would have been the top news story once!
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Boundary Committee - aka The Stupid Idea Club
Sunday, 24 August 2008
And the Tories said the Ipswich bus service was safe!
Monday, 28 July 2008
Still In darkest Peru
3 weeks ago we arrived at the start of a General strike, we managed to get north before all the roads were closed, the strike was started by the miners but it ended up covering the whole country for 3 days, as a bit of a political spotter it was a good way to start the trip but was quite difficult to work out the level of support for the strike. The unions seemed able to cut off each town by putting in barricades to stop traffic but the demonstartions/ protest marches each day seemed to have little support. Walls were also covered with graffiti, with many of the slogans seemed to be aimed at not wanting the strike to be taken over by the communists.
As you enter each town the walls are often painted with political messages and the names of those seeking election as Mayor or local, regional or national representitive.
Today is different as it is National Independance day- 28th July. Since we have been here, we have noticed that each house has a Peru flag outside it, yesterday we found out that each house/ shop has to fly the flag for a month before Independance day, not that the people mind as they take great pride in this day and many wear a small rosette badge on their clothes to celebrate the day. Yesterday in the main square they changed the fountain from water to Pico, the local drink- large queus formed to get their free Pisco drink! Though it was day of celebration, it was noticable that at the corner of each square was placed an anti-riot vehicle or a water cannon and around the sqaure were groups of armed military style police. Then again Lima is a city of varied life styles, in the beach area an apartment sells for $400,000 and this is for the smallest one available, but at the smae time many of the 9 million population live in small huts placed on sandy hills that are not much more than pre fabricated sheds. But what has been the highlight of the trip is the friendleness of the Peruvian people, from the city of Lima to the northern villages to the former Inca stronghold of Cusco, definately a county to visit.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Off to Peru!
Bristo's garage in Woodbridge Road have had two planning applications in, they wanted to demolish a house in Belvedere Road - this was refused. they have gained planning permission to build 14 houses on the site of their old car showrooms - this was passed but after a number of changes to the original plan. I passed on a number of residents concerns to Bristo's and the planners and this new development will see the retention of the wall backing onto Khartoum Road. The developers will also build a bus shelter on Woodbridge Road.
I have also been campaigning in Whitehouse and St Johns.
A number of my fellow Labour activists were in the town centre today to help celebrate the 60th birthday of the NHS.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
6 weeks in, finding my feet now!
So far I have sat on the Planning Committee (as a substitute) had a Licensing training session- did you know that a number of the laws on Street Trading date from 1871? No nor did I!
I attended my first Overview and Scrutiny meeting and I have had 3 sessions of Councillor Induction - with one to go! I have also managed to have a meetings with Officers responsible for roads and also planning. Away from Grafton House, I have had a Long meeting with the Police Inspector responsible for North East Ipswich and I have also attended the North East Forum. With an interest in sport I have also been able to see the Ipswich Wanderers v Antigua and Barbuda game and yesterday I watched the Great Britain women's Gymnastics team take on Romania at the Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre. So quite a lot for 6 weeks, and of course I have continued to attend Labour party meetings and deliver leaflets. But the most satisfying aspect is that I have been able to help residents on a number of issues, from informing them of the proposed housing development on the Bristo's site, to dealing with anti Social Behaviour, getting some trees pruned and various other issues. the most common complaint from residents has been about the state of the roads not only in Rushmere but over the whole of Ipswich. This issue will be one of the key issues that the Ipswich Labour Party will be campaigning on over the next 5 months. I will keep residents of Rushmere informed both through this website and also by our regular "Rushmere Rose".
It may have been 6 weeks hard work but it all is made worthwhile if I can help the residents of Rushmere make this - "our" ward a decent place to live in.
Not all aspects of council work have been as rewarding as helping residents, I was looking forward to attending my first Overview and Scrutiny meeting, as with the current way many councils do business- with most aspects of policy being dealt with by a small executive, it is important that the Overview and Scrutiny committee make sure the executive are held responsible for their decisions and that the O & S committee ask the right questions. The meeting started with the election of a councilor from the ruling administration, where 'best practice' recommends that the committee should be chaired by an opposition member - so much for democracy there. Then at the end of the meeting there seemed to be a desire by the Tory and lib Dem councilors to make sure the next meeting is kept short as it clashes with the 'Mayor at Home' function. Now I believe that the Civic events are important but not so much that the O & S meeting should be scrapped or the agenda just be limited to one matter. It is as if the executive do not wish any of their decisions to be scrutinised - I wonder why?
Friday, 6 June 2008
Out of her depth
Sunday, 1 June 2008
And I thought I was being offered a trip to Trinidad
Monday, 26 May 2008
The Armed Forces- Why can't we get the Labour message over?
- Greater encouragement for the military to wear uniforms in public where circumstances and Service rules allow;
- Creating a British Armed Forces and Veterans Day;
- Supporting extra Local Authority engagement for Homecoming Parades;
- and Strengthening cadet organisations by expanding combined cadet forces in Comprehensive Schools and introducing a Cadet Ambassador in London to encourage schools to get their pupils involved in cadet forces.
Now I agree with all these, the Cadet issue has already been raised by Gordon Brown and I see it as a good idea- as long as the funding is there and some of the NUT do not get too upset! The uniform one is a funny one, much was made of the instruction by senior RAF officers for their personnel not to wear uniform in Peterborough- now as an ex soldier- we actually like to get out of our uniform after work, but it would be great if you could stay in uniform just to pop to the bank at lunchtime, but also as an ex Sergeant Major- you do not want to see soldiers in some sort of half uniform/half civilian shirt which is what we have at present in many garrison towns.
The report also highlights what has already been done and what is already in the pipeline- again, much as been made by the Tories about the state of Married quarters, but it was the Tories who sold off the Married quarter estate management! Secondly, times have changed and many servicemen now look to purchase their own homes much earlier. What this Government has already done for servicemen and their families includes:
- Labour agreed one of the highest pay rises in the public sector for all servicemen and women following on from last year's 9 per cent pay rise for the lowest paid private soldiers. For those on operation abroad we have introduced a tax-free monthly bonus of almost £400 and have extended council tax relief.
- Over the next ten years the Labour Government will invest over £8 billion on improving our armed forces' accommodation. This will lead to a further upgrade in accommodation after years of neglect under previous Tory governments
But why can't we get our message over? the Tories and Cameron came out with a Military Covenant Commission, who we have not been heard from since it's launch but who got far more press than Labour did last week with the publication of Independent National Recognition of the Armed Forces study. Was it because the Tories had a famous (if right wing) novelist on their commission or because they had a famous ex soldier in Simon Weston- or was it because our study was led by a Labour MP who jumped the Tory ship? What ever the reason is, we need to get it right, as an ex soldier I know the Tories did little for us when in power but you can't expect many ex Generals to say that once they are out of the Army and looking for a directorship at some bank/ institution. The treatment of our Armed Forces is an important matter to all the public- much can be learnt from the poem"Tommy Atkins" by Kipling on how not to treat your Armed Forces and maybe we should remember the Labour poster from 1945- that helped us to that great election win!
Lets us again make us the party that both servicemen, their families and the general public know look after their armed forces the best. As the reports states:
"Our Armed Forces are the best in the world, putting their lives at risk to protect Britain and promote peace around the world."
Saturday, 24 May 2008
You may even get a chance too see some cricket, if you come to the forum meeting!
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Two weeks as a Councillor- and haven't stopped running yet!
So far I have been to a Councillor induction meeting, a Full Council meeting (which included Mayor making) and have already started on three pieces of case work in the ward. This week I have my first Planning Meeting, a second session of induction plus a meeting at Sidegate School.
It has not all been hard work as on Friday we had a victory party which was combined with a retirement party for Donny Edwards. Donny gave a moving speech, which really emphasised the reasons why many of us join the Labour Party- the wish for everyone to get a fair chance, equality and justice- it was also great to hear the names again of all those greats in the Ipswich party that Don has worked with- especially pleasing for me as both my late father and mother got a mention.
Peter Wheeler from the National Executive was also there and he also congratulated me on my win and also spoke fondly of my parents- it is obvious now that I have a lot to live up to, following in there footsteps!
The Full Council meeting should have been the highlight but was turned into a farce by the Tories and Lib Dems- and then they had the gall to blame us. The fact is that we were the victors on May 1st, we have the most Councillors but still the Tory/Fib Dem coalition will not even give us a seat on the executive- so denying a large majority of the population of Ipswich to represented where the real decisions are made. All that council meeting has done to me, is to make me moire determined that we continue to campaign hard to make sure we win an outright majority in 2010.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum
General Balfour leads the Green Jacket veterans on the march past