Saturday, July 31, 2004

Catching Up

Spent the morning in Blakeney then drove all the way down to Horning to speak at a lunch on public services. This afternoon I visited the Worstead Festival. Spent a very exciting Saturday evening catching up on email correspondence. I know to live, don't I? Yesterday evening went to my favourite restaurant in Norfolk - and indeed the whole country - Jacque. It's in Garden Street in Cromer. Superb food, great service. Try it out. You won't be disappointed. To visit their website click HERE. Tomorrow it's off to Fakenham for the day.

Police Funding Crisis

Commenting on tonight's breaking news that Norfolk and Suffolk Police
forces are facing a funding crisis, North Norfolk Conservative
Parliamentary Spokesman Iain Dale will say tomorrow (Saturday) in a
speech in Horning:-

"We face the real prospect of a cut in policemen in Norfolk and the
fault lies squarely at the door of David Blunkett. He talks tough but
has shackled the Police at every opportunity by imposing ridiculous
amounts of bureaucracy and paperpushing. These extra burdens are
unfunded and he expects local council tax payers to do his dirty work
for him. We learnt this week that the Norfolk Norwich Hospital is £15
million in the red and that local schools are about to lay off 100
teachers. Now we learn that police are under threat too as a £7.8
million black hole has been discovered in Norfolk Police funding. This
is too much of a coincidence and demonstrates clearly that Labour are
underfunding our public services while at the same time spinning that
things have got better. Norfolk people can see clearly with their own
eyes what is happening and no amount of spin from David Blunkett can
hide the fact that our Police are facing a mounting funding crisis.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

School Funding

The EDP carried a story today saying that Norfolk schools will lose 104 staff in the next year. Isn't it incredible that the government trumpet the extra money they have put into schools, yet teachers tell you that it has made not the slightest difference in the way they are able to do their job. This is because it has all gone on extra National Insurance contributions and pensions - very little has been seen at the chalkface. Small wonder with all the missives fired off to head teachers every day imposing yet more bureaucracy on schools. I would like to see schools get block funding which the head teacher and governor spend as they see fit according to their local circumstances. That's what will happen under a Conservative Government.

LibDem Watch & Another Mention in The Grauniad

I feel duty bound to share with you the delights of LibDem Watch, a prime example of what blogging is all about. Click HERE to be educated on the true face of Britain's third party.

Incidentally, this Blog is featured again in The Guardian today, although they have rathwer irritatingly told their readers I am the candidate in Norwich North. Click HERE to read their feature on political blogs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Notting Hill? I Prefer Swanton Abbott!

You can always tell when political journalists have nothing better to do when they start writing ridiculous stories about political groups who carry 'influence'. This week has seen an outbreak of this journalistic disease with copious articles in Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph about the Notting Hill Tory set. Click HERE to read the Guardian's take on it today. I have to break the sad news that while one or two of these people are friends of mine I have never knowingly been to Notting Hill. It all started with an article by Alice Thomson who identified these people as the future of the Tory Party - it just so happened that every person she mentioned in the article was a personal friend of hers! And so a story was born... Personally I prefer to be part of the Swanton Abbott Set!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Stranger and stranger, said Alice...

For some reason a couple of my recent entries have been deleted. Most perplexing...

Lazy Lazy

I have just realised to my horror that it is nearly a week since I posted a message on here. Shame on me. This week we've been busy delivering the second issue of my newspaper, North Norfolk Matters, all over the constituency. I've had loads of phone calls and emails as a result. And we've even had some people offer to deliver the next issue in their area. Much of the last week has been dominated by thoughts about the future of RAF Coltishall. I hope it won't descend into a parrty political spat. From what Norman Lamb has said I suspect he and I think along the same lines on this...well it had to happen sooner or later. The one thing people want now is some certainty, especially the local businesses. I'm glad to see the County Council has responded so positively. More on this later in the week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Going, going...

Tomorrow is crunch day. Some think our beloved PM may choose the tenth anniversary of his accession to the Labour leadership to resign. I guess it would appeal to his vanity. Others think he's going to have a Cabinet reshuffle. If he does that he'll definitely be there for the next election. Word on the street is that Peter Mandelson may make another phoenix like comeback either as European commissioner or Cabinet Minister. Wouldn't it be funny if Blair offered Brown the Foreign Office and he refused? What a way to run a railway... Talking of which, Labour announced their 10 year Transport Plan today. Strange that. They did the same thing 4 years ago. I imagine they'll soon announce the creation of a Transport Czar - then we'll really know they are in trouble. The main plank of this 10 Year Plan is to charge people for using the roads. Amazing. I thought we did that already through our taxes. I have no objection to the principle of 'the user pays' but I somehow doubt there would be a commensurate reduction in tax.

And also today they announced a review of Council Tax. It seems they want to not only increase the number of bands but also to introduce a local income tax. This really could do for Labour in the same way that the Poll Tax did for Mrs T.

Blog Fame

This Blog has been featured in the Hansard Society publication Political Blogs: Craze or Convention. They picked 8 different blogs to analysie - an MP's, journalists, presure groups etc and they picked mine as an example of a candidate's blog. I have to say the report is a bit anodyne but it's nice to be included! If you'd like to download the report - it's only 14 pages - Click Here.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Ladies Day

Today I made a speech at the European Union of Women lunch at Crostwick and this afternoon I paid a visit to the Anglican nuns in Walsingham. They're a feisty lot! Tomorrow it's out on the campaign trail in the eastern part of the constituency. We're delivering my new newspaper and doing some doorstep canvassing.
The two by-elections last night were not exactly a success. It certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort, but there's no doubt about it, we should have done better. Mind you, how John Reid kept a straight face when he called the results a score draw I do not know. The LibDems are understandably feeling smug, but I suspect it will be shortlived. Two surefire certainties on election night: Brent East and Leicester South: Labour Gains. Oh, and another one. North Norfolk, Conservative Gain!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Apparently I am "much respected"

Just got home from the Conservative Summer Fair at Gresham's in Holt to discover in the Sunday Times that I am "much RESPECTed". I guess that's quite good to TROT out on the odd election leaflet!

Yesterday I took a carload to help in the Leicester South by-election. We spent the day out on the streets delivering huge amounts of leaflets. Polling day is Thursday. Fingers crossed.

Friday evening was spent at the delightful West Barsham Hall. Cecil and Ann Parkinson came up to support me. Cecil was in good form. Last time he and I appeared on the same platform Ann and I ended up splatered with eggs. It was at UEA 20 years ago. God I feel old...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Just found this on the Gray Monk Blog...

Figures released yesterday show that the Ministry of Defence employs 102,000 soldiers, and 102,600 civil servants. Guess where the cuts are proposed to fall? Right, it isn't among the papershuffler Brigade.

The Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue now employ between them more Tax Collectors than the total manpower in the Navy and the Airforce, yet the Civil Service is growing at a rate of 511 new civil servants per week! This is an increase on last year's 444 new civil servants a week which saw the "service" grow to 5.6 million. Other statistics on this are equally frightening - the Health Service appoints three new managers for each new nurse OR doctor appointed. No wonder the waiting lists keep growing; the money isn't there for research or for proper treatment, and the elderly are left to die rather than spend money treating them.

This situation costs every household in Britain £850 a year and and that cost is growing. The simple fact that there are now more bureaucrats and inspectors in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Affairs than there are farmers should be sounding off alarm bells everywhere. This is what is costing this country growth (the Chancellor confuses burgeoning bureaucracy with economic growth - more bureaucrats = more paperwork = more jobs = equals growing economy?) and is killing enterprise. They simply can't help themselves. In order to justify all these extra taxguzzlers they have to pass more legislation which in turn creates more inspectors, which in turn consumes more resources, which ......

Belatedly, Blair and his poodles have realised that they have dug themselves into one very large hole and are now proclaiming that they are going to increase defence budgets. Really? The Treasury spokesman gives the lie to this, saying all the principle plans are now settled, the cuts will happen.

Government needs to be cut back. It needs to be answerable; it needs to be small and confined to the regulation of those matters which promote stability, safety, growth, and the well-being of its citizens. This government has failed on all counts. It has undermined the State with its pursuit of honours in Europe, it has all but destroyed the armed forces, it has undermined the Justice system, and it has irreparably damaged the concept of democracy in this country. The Civil Service, created with the best of intentions by Gladstone in the 19th Century, has become a ravening monster which is now so powerful that it is a political force in its own right. Worse, it is answerable to no one and cannot be thrown out - its elite are untouchable and protected from the fallout of their incompetence.

If this situation is not addressed soon, if this government is allowed to continue destroying everything it fails to understand, if the civil service is permitted to grow unchecked, democracy will not be the only casualty - the entire economy will collapse. No country can support the sort of "public sector" now being built in this one; it is simply ridiculous to expect the taxpayers to continue funding these armies of useless and non-productive taxguzzlers, and the economy cannot afford it. The true cost of all this government is not revealed, there are constant attempts to hide it, to obfusticate the issue. Instead our Queen and her family are forced to endure the annual torrent of abuse over "the exhorbitant cost" of the Monarchy. At 61p per household, a bargain against the cost of the parasites at No 10 - £3.20 per week per household!

Since taking office this corrupt and indecent party has increased spending on the promotion of their policies by over 1000% - enough to pay an entire battalion of fighting troops for two and a half years at current wages. The Cabinet Office alone spend in a year on taxi fares - that's right - taxi fares - enough to pay the salaries of around 10 doctors or 30 nurses for a year!

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

What if?

My friends at the EU Referendum Blog have a Link to an article on what would happen if Britain left the EU. Not that I am advocating it of course. This is where UKIP fails to convince. It's all very well saying we should leave the EU, but they just haven't done the research to outline the consequences of doing so. This article certainly makes you think though.

Today, Tomorrow, the Weekend

Spent most of the afternoon at Colby Hall Farm courtesy of Holt Farmers' Club. They had an open day for over 100 sixth formers who were there to learn about farming. Norman Lamb was there too. This evening I went to Honing Parish Council. Tomorrow I have a school governors meeting, a meeting with the Primary Care Trust and a campaign meeting. On Friday we have a fundraiser in Walsingham with Cecil Parkinson - a huge number of tickets have been sold by all accounts. And on Saturday I'm taking a dozen people to Leicester South to campaign in the by-election. Sunday it's our Summer Fair at Gresham's School in Holt.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Phone Mast Story in the Eastern Evening News

Read the Eastern Evening News story about me taking David Davis to meet the North Walsham Phone Mast Protesters.

D D Day II

Saturday was an excellent day, apart from the weather, natch. I picked David Davis up from Peterborough station from where we drove to Kelling to a Conservative afternoon tea function. The rains came down and the gazebos nearly blew away. After that I took David to meet the people who are campaigning against the O2 TETRA phone mast on North Walsham Police Station. I hadn't given them much notice so I thought there would only be half a dozen, but around 40 people turned out. It shows how angry they are about O2 riding roughshod over local opinion. David is going to take the issue up with the Home Secretary and I'm going to have another go at the Chief Constable. In the evening we attended and spoke at a dinner at Hanworth - superb function. On Sunday I had to go to Northampton to a conference of all the Conservative candidates in target seats. It was a hugely encouraging event and Michael Howard spoke at the end of the afternoon. I then had to get to Brighton to host another Ann Widdecombe evening. I eventually got home at Midnight. In the last seven days I have covered 1500 miles. Oh, and I see the Sunday Times Atticus column has been reading the Blog again - they printed the Boris Johnson story yesterday...only two weeks late guys!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

D D Day

It's David Davis Day. Just off to Peterborough to pick him up. David is my best friend in politics so I'm glad we have a good turnout at the two events we have organised today. I think he's doing a terrific job as Shadow Home Secretary. As many people know, had he run for the leadership I would have been on his campaign team. Indeed, if you remember his announcement outside the House of Commons when he said he would stand aside for Michael Howard I was standing behind him looking like an undertaker! But he made the right decision both for himself and the Party. In many ways that single decision helped unite the Party in a way we haven't seen for two decades. I'm looking forward to the day ahead!

Friday, July 02, 2004

The Last Few Days

Wednesday at the Norfolk Show was excellent. I was on the Norfolk Conservatives Stand for most of the day and had a great time. We were very encouraged by the response, especially from the younger people. Someone said it is almost becoming the rebellious thing to do for young people to support the Conservatives. They may be right. Today I visited Horning First School, which is just what I imagine a rural school should be like. Tomorrow David David is visiting North Norfolk, so a busy day ahead. Sunday I am off to a candidates conference near Northampton before driving to Brighton to host an Evening with Ann Widdecombe.