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New ICM Poll – Tory Lead Still at 17%

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There is a new ICM poll tonight for tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph which shows a continuing huge Conservative lead of 17%:

            Conservative              42% (down 2%)

            Labour                       25% (down 2%) 

            Lib Dem                      21% (up 3%) 

This is good news for the Lib Dems and bad news for Labour. Conservatives will be content to be above 40% in this poll and delighted with the evidence of a sustained lead of this magnitude.

Worryingly, a leaked Government report tonight suggests that BNP support could increase by 50% in their strongholds of Blackburn, Leicestershire and Stoke-on-Trent, at the next General Election.

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 4 Comments

October Activity Report

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My October 2009 activity stats are below. It was a quieter month than September. However I was away for almost a week at Party Conference in Manchester:

            Ward Surgery – 1

            Committees and Panels Attended – 2

            Full Council Meetings Attended – 1

            Community Group Mtgs Attended – 2

            External Committees and Panels – 1

            Briefings with Officers – 0

            School Governors’ Meeting – 0

            Political Conservative Group Meetings – 2

            Front Office* Enquiries Submitted – 7

            Apologies sent – 1

*The old “Acolaid” Councillor’s enquiry system has been replaced with a new system called “Front Office”.

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

Michal Kaminski – “A Strong Friend of Israel”

Michal_Kaminski_2007_10_31I have written before about the truly disgusting campaign against the Polish leader of the Conservative and Reformists Group in the European Parliament. Labour Ministers have been active in the campaign to smear the Conservative Party by association and have claimed that Kaminski is homophobic and anti-semitic. Many people have testified in support of Michal Kaminski but still the smears continue.

One source that has been cited against him is the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, who previously said “…it is clear that Mr Kaminski was a member of NOP, a group that is openly far right and neo-nazi. Anyone who would want to align himself with a person who was an active member of NOP and the Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne (which was established to deny historical facts of the massacre at Jedwabne) needs to understand with what and by whom he is being represented.”

The Rabbi has now clarified his earlier remarks and mounted a strong attack on those who are smearing Kaminski. In his most recent remarks he said There is no doubt that Kaminski is a strong friend of the State of Israel. He himself has spoken out against anti-Semitism on several occasions during the past decade. It is a grotesque distortion that people are quoting me to prove that Kaminski is an anti-Semite. Portraying Kaminski as a neo Nazi plays into the painful and false stereotype that all Poles are anti-Semitic. I would also like to clarify that the headline of James Macintyre article of July 29, 2009 entitled: “Jewish Leaders Turn on Cameron’s Tories: Poland’s chief rabbi and others call on Cameron to sever ties with Polish MEP” does not represent what I said to the author. I made no political statement and this headline is misleading and untrue.”

It is too much to hope that James Macintyre will offer Kaminski an apology but perhaps it is not too much to hope that the nasty, personal, and inaccurate smears by senior Labour Party figures will now stop. Michal Kaminski is a moderate mainstream politician from a conservative Catholic country. His views will not always accord precisely with the secular liberal values of most of Western Europe but an anti-semite and homophobe he most certainly is not. Labour should look a little more closely at their own record before trying to make personal attacks on others.

October 29, 2009 Posted by | International, National | 12 Comments

The Lib Dems Are at it Again

ld-bird-deadWe all know that the Lib Dems have a well deserved reputation for dodgy bar charts and only a passing acquaintance with the truth, well my colleague Cllr Dave Luckett has two interesting articles highlighting the point on his blog.

The first relates to one of the dodgiest Lib Dem bar charts (see below) I have ever seen. Not only is the bar chart dodgy but as he points out, it is based on some very out of date Reading Borough electoral statistics. Just look at the height of the respective bars and the percentages they purport to represent.

The second article exposes a Lib Dem master-class of deliberate inaccuracy. The headline in the Lib Dem newsletter talks about Kings Meadow being under threat due to a “Tory U-turn”, when in fact it was Labour that did the U-turn. They did this under pressure from a Conservative call in of their original decision at the CCEA Scrutiny Panel, at which the “heroic” Lib Dems abstained. Had the Conservatives not pressed the call-in the original Labour decision would have stood and we would be several steps closer to a huge hotel and overdevelopment of the Kings Meadow site.

It is reminiscent of their shambolic performance at the recent full Council meeting when the Lib Dems condemned having an extra Council meeting on 1st December to discuss the options for replacing the existing Civic Offices, despite one of their reps on the Civic Board, Cllr Warren Swaine, having agreed to the meeting and the other rep failing to turn up at all. They condemned the time taken to reach this point and then advocated delaying any further discussion to a later scheduled Council meeting.

As anyone who attends a Reading Borough Council meeting can see, the Lib Dems are divided and chaotic, and incapable of articulating a coherent position from one meeting to the next. The only place where they appear credible and coherent is through the artistic license used in their own literature. Despite voting with the minority Labour administration whenever budgetary matters are discussed, the Lib Dems are the object of repeated scorn from the Labour benches.

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October 28, 2009 Posted by | Local | 2 Comments

New YouGov Poll in Wales – Conservative Surge Threatens Labour Heartland

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There is a new poll today from YouGov of Welsh voting intentions which shows a surge in Conservative support at the expense of both Labour and the Lib Dems:

            Labour                       34% (down 8.7%)

            Conservative              31% (up 9.6%)

            Lib Dem                      12% (down 6.4%)

            Plaid Cymru                15% (up 2.4%) 

At the last General Election the Conservatives won just three seats in Wales against Labour’s 29, with the Lib Dems on 4 and Plaid on 3. An Independent won one seat. This poll suggests that the Conservatives could gain 9 seats, giving them 12 and Labour lose 9, leaving them with 20. The Lib Dems could lose 2 of their current 4 seats.

This would be a remarkable turnaround in a country that has been rock-solid Labour for generations. It would also be only slightly better than the June Euro election results, when, for the first time since 1918, Labour were beaten in Wales.

It raises the interesting question of why, if the Conservatives can come almost level with Labour in Wales, when they were wiped out in 1997, they cannot do better in Scotland than the 16-20% they are currently polling there.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ComRes Poll – Conservative Lead Up to 13%

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There is a new poll tonight from ComRes reported in tomorrow’s Independent which shows a Conservative lead of 13%:

            Conservative              40% (no change)

            Labour                       27% (down 1%) 

            Lib Dem                      18% (down 1%)

            BNP                              2% (up 1%)

This poll is statistically no change for the major parties but does show the BNP up from 1% to 2% following the Question Time appearance of Nick Griffin.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 2 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Conservative Lead Increases to 13%

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There is a new poll today from YouGov reported in the Telegraph which shows an increased Conservative lead of 13%:

            Conservative              40% (down 1%)

            Labour                       27% (down 3%) 

            Lib Dem                      19% (up 2%)

            BNP                              3% (up 1%) 

Despite the BNP’s mere 3% support level the concerning element within the poll is that 22% of voters would consider voting BNP in a future election.

October 24, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 5 Comments

Question Time and the BNP

GriffinTonight the BBC will allow British National Party leader Nick Griffin a public platform on one of its flagship political programmes. That in itself is the kind of boost the BNP could only dream about a few months ago. However, Griffin has cleverly also used the controversy over that decision to keep his party of thugs and racists in the news day after day.

Griffin was helped by the timing of the Army Generals decision to condemn the BNPs use of WW2 images and his response was deliberately and skilfully over the top in order to extract additional coverage. Griffin refused to stop using WW2 images and claimed that Winston Churchill if he were alive today would have joined the BNP. It may be true that someone of Churchill’s generation would have held views that today would be seen as un-PC but to suggest that Winston would have joined a party that is a linear descendent of Sir Oswald Moseley’s “black shirts” is risible.

What is also laughable is the stupidity of the BNP in using an image of an RAF Spitfire on their Euro election leaflets which belonged to one of the Polish RAF Squadrons that fought the Nazis in the skies over Europe. That Polish pilot is deemed by the BNP to be unworthy to even join their party and yet they use his image as an icon of Britishness. The same is true for the valiant Gurkha veterans who have just won their right to settle in the UK. Every British person I know would be proud and delighted to have a Gurkha next door to them and yet the BNP would send them packing back to Nepal.

The QT panel tonight will consist of Baroness Warsi for the Conservatives, Jack Straw for Labour, Chris Huhne for the Lib Dems and Bonnie Greer, as well as, of course, Nick Griffin. I fear that the rapid fire questions and answers won’t allow for much scrutiny of Griffin’s arguments and if the panel are not careful he will be allowed to appear the victim of “an establishment” consensus. That will be exactly what he wants. It is important that the politicians don’t try just to score points but maybe take it in turns to demolish Griffin’s underlying racist assumptions.

I am sure that the BBC will get one of the biggest audiences ever for this edition of Question Time and that probably played a part in their decision but they are playing with fire. I don’t agree with those like Peter Hain who argue that Griffin should not have been invited onto QT – refusing to debate with a legal party which has MEPs and Councillors is just not democratic. However, David Dimbleby must allow time for proper debate tonight and possibly limit the number of questions in order to achieve this.

Tonight’s is not a normal edition of Question Time it will be an attempt by an avowedly racist party to gain a platform to recruit and gain electoral support. There will be a heavy burden on the other panellists to ensure that this opportunity is minimised.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | National | 6 Comments

Gibraltar’s Governor Hands Over

Gib KeysIn a magnificent colonial ceremony Seventeen Gun Salutes were exchanged between the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and HMS Sutherland today as Lt Gen Fulton handed back the Keys of Gibraltar on relinquishing his post as the Governor of Gibraltar.

The Governor inspected a Guard of Honour drawn up from B Company of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment before handing the Keys of Gibraltar to the Port Sergeant for the last time. After saying his farewells to senior military officers and Gibraltar’s dignitaries, he bade farewell to the Chief Minister, the Hon Peter Caruana and Mrs Caruana at the ship’s gangway.

In uncharacteristically wet weather, HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 (Duke Class) frigate, was then escorted out of the Naval Base by patrol boats of the Gibraltar Squadron and the Gib SutherlandGibraltar Services Police to carry His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar away from the Rock on the first stage of his journey back to UK.

Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom on the southern tip of the Spanish mainland. It has been a British colony since it was captured in 1704 and this was recognised in 1713 when under the treaty of Utrecht, Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity. Despite several attempts by the Foreign Office to get shot of Gibraltar its people have remained loyal to Britain and have voted overwhelmingly to retain their British citizenship.

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Defence, International | 10 Comments

Latest Royal Navy Warship is Launched on the Clyde

Defender2Thousands turned out on the banks of the Clyde today to cheer on the latest ship to make up the Royal Navy’s formidable new Type 45 destroyer class. Defender was launched amid a cloud of balloons and fireworks by Lady Julie Massey, wife of the Deputy Head of the Navy Second Sea Lord Sir Alan Massey, to the fanfare of the Band of the Royal Marines.

Defender is the fifth ship of six in the Type 45 destroyer class. Good progress is being made on the programme: HMS Daring (ship one) has been commissioned into the Royal Navy and is on her final trials prior to her entering service, planned for February 2010. Dauntless (ship two) has recently completed two very successful sets of sea trials while Diamond (ship three) has just begun her sea trials. Dragon (ship four) was launched in Scotland at the end of 2008 and Duncan (ship six) is still under construction in Govan.

Defender1As versatile as they are powerful, the Type 45s have a range of capabilities. They will be able to carry up to 60 Royal Marines Commandos and their equipment, and operate a Chinook-sized helicopter from the flight deck. The standards of accommodation also exceed previous classes thanks to the ships’ size. They will displace 7,350 tons and measure 152.4m x 21.2m x 5.7m, with a crew of 190 and top speed of 29 knots.

The Type 45 programme is providing 4,000 shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde, 3,600 shipbuilding jobs in Portsmouth at its peak and many more jobs at sub-contractors around the country. However the programme has been slashed from an original stated intent to build a class of 12 Type 45’s down to the present class of just 6.

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Defence | 1 Comment

A New Pollster Joins the Fray – Tory Lead at 17%

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There is yet another poll reported tonight from a brand new pollster to the UK Angus Reid Strategies which has been commissioned by the website PoliticalBetting.com. It also shows a Conservative lead of 17%:

            Conservative              40%

            Labour                       23%  

            Lib Dem                      20%  

Naturally as a first poll from this organisation there are no changes to show but it is interesting that it show the same 17% Conservative lead as the ICM and MORI polls tonight. Political Betting has more details on the pollster which apparently is a Canadian company but we will have to watch their UK track record for a while to see whether their methodology is sound and whether their results fluctuate wildly, like for example Ipsos MORI.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 2 Comments

New ICM Poll – Tory Lead at 17%

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There is a second poll tonight, this time from ICM for tomorrow’s Guardian, which also shows a Conservative lead of 17% (changes are against the most recent ICM poll, whereas the Guaardian graphic below is against their poll last month):

            Conservative              44% (down 1%)

            Labour                       27% (up 1%) 

            Lib Dem                      18% (no change) 

Statistically this is no change on the previous ICM poll as changes are well within the margin of error. It is also completely in line with the earlier MORI poll. When two major pollsters tell the same story it is reasonable to assume that they are painting an accurate picture and with all the Conferences now well behind us it looks as though the net effect has been nil!

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October 20, 2009 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New MORI Poll – Tories Surge at Lib Dem Expense

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There is a new Ipsos MORI poll tonight which shows a massive 17% Conservative lead:

            Conservative              43% (up 7%)

            Labour                       26% (up 2%) 

            Lib Dem                      19% (down 6%) 

This is the complete unwinding of the Lib Dem Conference effect when briefly they overtook Labour for second place.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 3 Comments

Could the First Labour MP be About to Cross the Floor?

James PurnellIt is characteristic of governments in their final days that discipline begins to deteriorate and morale slumps. Who could argue with the statement that both of these features seem to be present in the Labour party at present? It would not therefore be surprising if one or more Labour MPs decided that their patience with Gordon Brown and his front bench team was exhausted.

The Telegraph columnist Richard Eden certainly thinks that one such senior back-bench MP is former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions James Purnell. Purnell is a former advisor to Tony Blair and was elected to the Commons in 2001 for the North Western seat of Stalybridge and Hyde. He was re-elected in 2005 with an 8,348 majority. On 4 June this year he resigned from the Government with a stinging attack on Gordon Brown’s leadership qualities and calling for him to resign as leader.

Cited by some as a possible replacement for Brown he has not been untouched by the Parliamentary expenses scandal, having claimed £247 for some 3,000 fridge magnets! If Purnell were to cross the floor he would be almost certain of a place in a future Conservative Government. He would bring considerable recent experience to what will be a Conservative Parliamentary party that will have the majority of MPs with 5 years or less experience of Parliament and very limited past Ministerial experience.

Watch this space!

October 18, 2009 Posted by | National | 6 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Conservative Lead Down to 11%

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There is a second new poll tonight from YouGov reported in the Sunday Times which shows a reduced 11% Conservative lead:

            Conservative              41% (down 1%)

            Labour                       30% (up 2%) 

            Lib Dem                      17% (down 2%) 

Both polls tonight are in the same ball-park and therefore within the margins of error.

October 17, 2009 Posted by | Polls | 8 Comments