Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For my cousin Tracy... Red Nose Day movie

"RED Nose Day" movie from the BBC

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good riddance ‘third-sector’

...hello Civil Society

So a new government, a new way of politics? It’s too early to tell if real change will empower community and voluntary groups to serve local places from this new Con/Lib Dem government.

One welcome change that has come about almost immediately is the dropping of the ridiculous habit of branding our organisations the Third Sector. I have not heard the police or borough council call themselves Second Sector, and for that matter have you ever heard a business refer to themselves as First Sector?

The problem with the phrase third sector? It meant very little to the majority of the nation. Those of us employeed in the so called third sector had to explain the mantle we gave little regard to.

At a recent Safer and Stronger partnership meeting where an entusiastic participant suggested a need to strengthen the THIRD sector, I piped in and stated if the expectation from the SECOND sector could be realised with investment from the local FIRST sector, we would all be content that the FOURTH estate would give us more publicity to promote our stronger selves.

The Conservative manifesto included plans to invest in the civil society:

· Using funds from dormant bank accounts to create a Big Society Bank to provide new finance for charities and social enterprises.

· Train a new generation of community organisers and support the creation of neighbourhood groups.

· Hold an annual Big Society Day to encourage volunteering.

The challenge from Voluntary Action Swindon is that the new prime minister, and our two new Conservative MPs will keep to their word and invest in this thing they call ‘Civil Society’. We will be watching, we will be lobbying, we will be working collaboratively to make it happen – I hope you will join us.

gosh have not been on here for a long time!

It's funny how when you have little to say - some people still say a lot.
Well I have not had much to say... and so have not posted much of late.

I have a post on my mind... lets see what happens!
I trust readers won't think I am saying a lot, when in reality I don't have much to say

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paddick bows out from politics...

Disappointed to read in today’s Mail on Sunday that Brian Paddick has hung up his political rosette and with it his ambitions to pursue politics. We really need more flamboyant characters in the party.

Had hoped that Paddick would be parachuted into a winnable seat for the May 2010 General Election, but alas it does not look likely.

Just a few quotes from the self deprecating diary article penned by Brian:

“Some people have asked if I'll run for Parliament now. It's as likely as me running another marathon. Not for anyone.”

Would you like to get to know me better? Paddick to Will Self. “Only sexually” is the stark reply.

Feb 14th: Launch our transport policies at Vauxhall Bus Station – no one comes

Feb 28th: At the Eco Build exhibition in Earl's Court. Had no proper briefing so did it myself on Google.

April 2nd: We're in the middle of the "Cleggover" storm, after Nick Clegg said he'd had up to 30 lovers. Am asked how many I've slept with. "A lot fewer women than Nick," I say.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Target Practice


waiting for Hazel

It's a big day for local government this morning.

Hazel Blears is due to address the Labour conference with her ambitions within her government portfolio of Communities & Local Governance.

New Local Area Agreements are being re-re-launched again. It's the third time that we have had a launch, so I am counting on Gordon keeping Hazel in place long enough to deliver.

The Best Value Performance Indicator measurements are being dumped and replaced with 200 broad targets supplied by Whitehall for all local authorities to measure, with up to 35 of these targets selected to stretch our ambitions.

Along with these 35 will be 17 statutory targets for Childrens Services (incl Education, NEET, etc). Then add the mandatory targets that were imposed on us in the 2007 LAA refresh, plus any local indicators which are specific to our own localities. I think the list could be closer to 70.

It's my job at the Borough Council to ensure all partners in the police, health authority, voluntary and community sector negotiate these top 35 targets in Swindon. I also have to ensure these targets all line up to what the Swindon community want, which is another exercise I have been party to. Indeed, if you are a Swindon resident, or just interested in Swindon - why not take the survey yourself at the Local Strategic Partnership website.

So today is an important day... over to you to shine some light on the subject, Hazel.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So when will PM call the GE?

BBC Newsnight are holding a contest on when the PM will call the next general election.

Reprinted below, for your entertainment is my entry:

My guess would be May 2009.

But we should not have to guess, is not about time we had set parliaments of five year terms. Local government conforms to a set date each year, or every four years.

I have no problem with voting on a weekend, although my heart goes out to political activists / foot soldiers that have to march through every housing estate begging people to vote early!

Those who do not vote should be fined £250 with the fine bypassing the treasury, and going into a good causes pot co-managed by the Camelot.

After all, whether the Lotto Election delivers merciless Ming, hug a hoodie Dave, or Brown the frown…to number 10, “if you are not in it, they can’t win it.”

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Labour's leaflet of lies on crime

Labour activists have leafleted the housing estate where I live today. I’ve uploaded the offending paper of simplistic statements, as humour should be shared not kept to oneself. Any credit that Labour had locally, which was already very limited, is now reduced to a big fat ZERO.

Of course Labour's list of failures on reducing crime is clear for all to see.

* Violent crime is rising, anti-social behaviour is still a serious problem, and our prisons are overflowing. Labour have talked tough but have failed to deliver despite 10 years in power.

* Overcrowded prisons are putting the public at risk. Some serious offenders are being kept out of jail because there are not enough spaces. Meanwhile, we have one of the highest rates of repeat crime in Europe.

* Violent crime has doubled in the last eight years.

* First time violent offenders are more likely to get a caution than be taken to court.

* The Labour government proposed giving out fines for assault, theft and even mugging - meaning the perpetrators wouldn't get a criminal record.

* Firearms offences have more than doubled, yet Labour have failed to introduce the handgun register promised after the Dunblane tragedy.

* Labour opposed tougher jail sentences for knife crime.

* On average, there is a violent incident in prison in England and Wales every 13 minutes.

You can read more on Labour’s crimes against our society, but more importantly see what Lib Dems would do about it at http://www.wecancutcrime.com/

forget Labour lies, LIB DEMS would:
1) Put more police on patrol Don't waste billions on ID cards Read more »

2) Initiate compulsory work and training in prison to cut reoffending Read more »

3) Introduce better compensation for victims paid for by prison work Read more »

4) Take back our town centres Let communities close pubs and clubs that cause trouble Read more »

5) Make sentences mean what they say Life should mean life Read more »

Once you have sifted through the myth and untruths about making communities weak and less safe, there is some verbal diarrhoea on Lib Dems penalising the poorest because we would abolish the non-means tested £250 Child Trust Fund. Surely it is better to invest more money in Education now, than a gimic of giving each parent (rich or poor) a bit of cash to invest for that childs 18th birthday party?

The biggest lie of all is a fascinating graph showing Labour political support neck and neck with the Lib Dems. I suppose we should be flattered, as the borough council is Con:42, Lab:12, LibDem:3. In the ward where I live the results were Con:551 votes, Lab:526 votes and LibDem:879 votes. Even the general election in 2005 gave Con:37.2%, Lab:40.3% and LibDem:16.8%. So where is Labour neck and neck with the Lib Dems in Swindon?

The Labour paper of confusion that came through my letterbox is promoted by Labour’s London based general secretary, Peter Watt… so it has nothing to do with the local party really… but it had to be the local party who delivered it – have they no shame?

This leaflet by Labour is criminal... but then Labour have always lied to get the electorates support... they just can't help themselves. When Labour have lied all through this parliament, a few more lies on a political leaflet won't make much difference.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ming you're useless, you've got to go.

Although the journalist in this article hates everything the Lib Dems stands for, his comments hurt.

Danny Finkelstein (of The Times) was probably one of those children who never got involved in playground fights, but he would be one of those kids forming the front line of circle round two fighting boys screaming with delight: “fight, fight, FIGHT!”

He glories in the acceptance of others by repeating stories he has heard before… original thought is a stranger to him.

But that is a problem for those of us who do want to see the Lib Dems do well. The bells that toll the tone of warning have been sounding their clang for a long time now. The truth that dare not speak his name is evidently being paraded in front of us every time Ming manages to get a TV or radio interview.

Friday, May 04, 2007

What an (electronic) voting disaster

I waxed lyrical a couple of months ago about e-voting.

Swindon elections were to be conducted using touch-screen systems in polling stations, or voters could opt to score their ballot paper (sic) by logging onto a computer at home.

Well it all went disastrously wrong. The systems crashed, the machines would not work, it all went rather embarrassingly wrong.

And to add pain to the complete mess up... Swindon Borough Council was awarded beacon status for it's electoral services this year. Should we give the award back?

Still, at least it was not quite as bad as Scotland where two types of voting - first past the post for local elections and single transferable votes for the Parliament meant close to 100,000 ballot papers were spoilt... potentially many of these because the voter was confused when confronted with two ballot papers and either marked local elections paper with 1,2,3 when it should have been an X. Or marked the Scottish Parliament ballot paper with an X when it should have been 1,2,3.

What a mess. And what a shambles for democracy.

I asked the question back in February... is it the end of pencil and paper voting? The clear answer is NO!