Thursday, 30 September 2010

NO2AV Welcome Electoral Commission Report

In the wake of the release of the Electoral Commission’s report to Parliament on the wording of the question for next year’s referendum, NO2AV – The Fight for Fair Votes – is pleased to see that several of its proposals are used in the Electoral Commission’s final recommendations.

The top lines from the Electoral Commission report include:
  1. They agree that the question has to be re-written, as requested by NO2AV
  2. They endorse the NO2AV argument that the word "adopt" should not be used in the question; a term such as ‘replace’ should be used instead
  3. They are going to provide an explanatory leaflet to voters, as requested by NO2AV
  4. Although several groups submitted responses to the Electoral Commission around the question, the Yes Campaign did not, raising concerns of bias in the question as it is currently drafted
Matthew Elliott, Campaign Director of NO2AV – The Fight for Fair Votes, said:
"We welcome this report by the Electoral Commission which echoes the concerns we expressed to the Commission over the wording of the question. It is vital that the British public understand the important decision they have to make, and we hope that Parliament and the Cabinet Office take note of the Electoral Commission’s findings when drafting the eventual question."

Monday, 27 September 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Conservatives' New Lincolnshire Area Team Elected

Cllr. Mrs. Rachel Hubbard has been elected as Conservative Party Chairman for the Lincolnshire Area, which includes the County of Lincolnshire and the five constituencies of the south humber. She is joined by Cllr. Kelly Smith as Deputy Chairman (Political) and by Mr. Richard Davies as Deputy Chairman (Membership). Mr. Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the Lincoln Conservative Association has been co-opted as County Treasurer.

Howlett is New Conservative Future National Chairman

Cllr. Ben Howlett has been elected as the new national Chairman of Conservative Future, succeeding Mr. Michael Rock.

In ToryBear reports that just 173 people voted in the contest, out of an eligible 18,000. Which is a very poor turnout. Cllr. Howlett's first job is to reflect on that low level of identification with CF among younger party members.

Chairman: Cllr. Ben Howlett (Howlett 113, Cox 60)
Deputy Chairman (Membership): Miss Clare Hilley (Hilley 73, Cooper 47)
Deputy Chairman (Political): Miss Alexandra Swann (Swann 139, Khan 33)
Appointed Officer: Mr. James Deighton (Deighton 72, Sullivan 70)

Mr. Harry Cole (aka youth Tory Blogger 'ToryBear') summed up the result saying:
"Two women and a gay guy at the top. Without quotas. Without enforcement, without special patronising identity officers. Eat your heart out Labour.

"Though the massive drop in turn out needs investigation - someone has cocked up here."
Mr. Giles McNeill said:
"Had I known that my ballot would have counted as one of only 173 cast, I would probably have taken the whole thing more seriously."

Thoughts on the New Labour Party Leader - 'Red-Ed' Miliband

The mood in the Conservative camp is one of 'undisguised mirth', as David Crow put it, at the election of Ed Miliband as Leader of the Labour Party.

Leader of the Labour Party
Ed Miliband MP.
On Saturday night, shortly after the result was announced, staff at Conservative headquarters in London were, it is understood, popping open the champagne.  Advisers to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron think the next election is more winnable than ever.

Much of this relief is understandable. Ed Miliband’s victory has sounded the death knell for New Labour, that election-winning machine which the party had come to hate.  The Conservatives have always said Tony Blair was unbeatable and feared that David Miliband, his last disciple, would also prove a tough opponent. 

Ed Miliband sees no shame in closing the door on the Blairite past, and everything it stood for.
"The era of New Labour has passed, a new generation has taken over."
Were the word used yesterday, in his first major interview since winning the crown, with the BBC's Andrew Marr.

There is nothing 'new' however, about the team that now leads Labour.  Ken Livingstone is not only the party’s mayoral candidate, but also topped the poll in the race to sit on the party's governing body - the National Executive Committee.  Lord Kinnock, red-flag bearer for the left wing, was one of Ed Miliband’s most vocal supporters.  Despite Blair’s attempts to consign them to history, the union barons are once again an important voice in the political debate.

Beyond the same old faces.  Gone is the emphasis on social mobility, on reward for hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.  It will be replaced by 'equality', essentially old-fashioned redistribution of wealth. Labour no longer wants to have more pie – it just wants to cut it up more evenly.

The banks will be bashed; the rich will be soaked; the private sector will be banished from public services. This is the manifesto on which Labour will fight the next election.

For Ed Miliband is not the joke that his opponents are trying to portray him as.  No, he is not as good as Blair, few politicians are.  But he is still a credible leader considering recent peers.

Susan Boyle of X-Factor fame
before and after.
He is much better than Neil Kinnock, the 'Welsh windbag' that voters simply would not vote for in 1992 – no matter how much they hated John Major and his completely divided government.  As Gordon Brown’s favourite number cruncher, he is clearly economically literate, unlike Harriet Harman, and will be able to twist facts and figures to attack the government as only a Brownite can.  He is no professional for the media, but his smile is nowhere near as scary as Brown’s, and the transformations that can be managed today, with a little coaching, are staggering - think Susan Boyle.

If he can convince the big trade unions to keep industrial unrest in check, his populist brand of socialism could tap into the banker-bashing zeitgeist.  As could his claim that the deficit can be reduced without much pain.  Voters might say they back tough cuts right now, but it is easy to say that before their impact starts to bite.

Worst of all for David Cameron is that Ed Miliband is a relative unknown – both in politics and public.  A fresh face gives him an enormous advantage - which his brother, David Miliband, would not have had

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Go Ahead For 2,500 New Homes Plan

A major housing development which will help double the size of Gainsborough in the next twenty years has been given the go-ahead.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward), has welcomed the news. He said:
"This is excellent news for Gainsborough as it means the development that will support the regeneration of the town can be decided locally. It also fits in well with the Government's agenda for people to shape their own future

"We can now proceed to determine the application in line with the Planning Committee's decision and continue the regeneration of Gainsborough."
As previously reported, the council granted outline planning permission for 2,500 homes to be built on land south of Foxby Lane, in the South West Ward of Gainsborough.  However, because the scale of the development is different from the local policy, the final decision had to be approved by the Government.

This week, the council received a letter from the Government Office for the East Midlands. It read:
"In the Secretary of State's view, the proposed (application) does not raise issues of such wider significance as to require a determination by him and he has, therefore, concluded that your council should decide the application."
Plans for the development include two primary schools, shops, a doctors' surgery and a multi-use centre.

The development will be complemented with large open spaces and parks and access to nearby woodlands together with pedestrian and cycle routes.

Chief Executive of the Council Mrs. Manjeet Gill said:
"This new development is another positive sign of confidence in the future of Gainsborough. It will provide a major employment boost in the construction stage and will eventually support 1,500 new jobs in the business, industrial, retail and home worker sectors.

It's crucial we get the plans right by ensuring the right infrastructure and services will be in place to cope with the increase in demand and we look forward to seeing the details of the planning application."
The applicant will now need to submit further 'reserved matters' applications, to deal with the detail of the site.

The timescale for this and the start date for building is in the hands of the developer.

However, it is planned that the development will take 12-13 years to complete with about 200 new homes being added each year.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Speed Indicator Device Deployed In Nettleham

A Speed Indicator Device (SID), partly paid for by Nettleham Parish Council, was deployed for the first time in the village on Monday, 20th September 2010 on Deepdale Lane.

The devices have been shown to have a significant effect on reducing traffic speeds. In a year-long study of the speed of more than 325,000 vehicles showed that road safety signs that flash up drivers' speeds do work.

Dorset County Council, who compared the average speeds recorded at thirty-five sites to speeds before the SIDs were deployed, demonstrated that drivers' speeds were five miles per hour lower near the speed indicator devices.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Nettleham is Best Kept Village - Again!

Nettleham residents will be feeling mighty pleased to once again have been award first place in the Lincolnshire Best Kept Village and Small Towns Competition 2010.

The competition, entered into by Nettleham Parish Council, has a number of categories and the village compete is the third category for villages with a population of between 2,001 - 7,000 residents.

Writing to the Parish Clerk the organisers said:
"Congratulations to your community on winning your class in this year's competition again.  The marks have been very close which is the hall mark of a high standard of competition and you can with justification feel very proud of the achievement of your community.  The residents of Nettleham obviously pull together to make it a nice place to be."
The Parish Council will receive a plaque to erect marking the achievement, a certificate and a tree.

Nettleham Parish Councillor, Giles McNeill said:
"I am really proud of how our community works so hard year in year out to be leaders in this competition. I also want to praise the staff of the Parish Council who work hard to remove any grafitti or other detritus swiftly, ensure that fences are readily repaired and that contractors complete grass cutting to the high standards expected of the Council. I must also praise those people in the village who volunteer their time to go litter picking."

Friday, 17 September 2010

Edward Leigh & John PughTo Advise George Osbourne and The Treasury

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, has asked Edward Leigh MP and John Pugh MP to act as advisors on improving accountability to Parliament. They will provide independent advice, support and challenge to the Treasury and the activities it is undertaking that are aimed at improving financial management across government.

Their combined knowledge and experience from time spent on the Treasury Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee will be a great asset to the Treasury as it acts to strengthen financial discipline across the public sector.

Key areas of their remit will be:
  • Input to the Treasury’s newly formed Financial Management Advisory Panel, which brings external challenge to the development and implementation of a new financial management strategy for central government;
  • To act as champions for modernising the public spending information that Parliament receives in order to improve transparency;
  • To advise on the Government’s approach to the management of strategic financial risks in public service delivery; and
  • To provide independent assurance and advice to relevant projects as they are initiated and progressed.
Mr Leigh and Mr Pugh will provide an important independent perspective on how the Treasury is progressing against its long-term financial management strategy for government.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Giles McNeill Appointed Area Chairman of Lincolnshire Conservative Future

It was today announced that Mr. Giles McNeill has been appointed as the new Area Chairman for Lincolnshire Conservative Future, the youth wing od the Conservative Party. Addressing activists from accross Lincolnshire Mr. McNeill said:

"I have been appointed, by the new Regional Chairman of East Midlands Conservative Future, Mr. Thomas Turrell, who has succeeded Mr. Hamish Stewart, as Chairman of Lincolnshire Conservative Future. Master Robin Hunter-Clarke has been appointed as a Deputy-Chairman.

"I would like to take a minute to thank my predecessor Mr. Reza Shah who became Chairman at a time of considerable stress for our organisation and has done a good job in holding matters together in the run up to the General Election. I would also like to pay tribute to Mr. Simon Cavalier-Jones who has now stepped down as a Deputy Chairman.

"It is my hope that in the coming year we will continue to pull together, building existing branches and creating new branches in our area and continuing to build ever closer ties with our colleagues in the senior party."
Mr. McNeill served in the post previously between June 2008 and July 2009.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

CCTV Image Could Be Burglar Who Has Raided Village Homes

The Lincolnshire Echo today report that police have released an image of a lone man who they believe is at the centre of 40 burglaries carried out in two Lincolnshire villages.

The paper reports that since May, he has stolen tens of thousands of pounds of jewellery and cash from properties in Nettleham and Saxilby. The homes targeted have been empty with many of the occupants having gone on holiday and it remains a puzzle how the thief seems to know the properties are vacant.

The images from Sunday, 15th August 2010, show the man in Horncastle town centre, where he has also allegedly struck six times.

The Police asked the paper to publish the pictures in an attempt to uncover the perpetrator's identity. They are offering a £1,000 reward to information leading to a conviction. Through detailed investigations, including increased patrols in the area and, in some cases, covert work, police are confident the man is from the South Yorkshire area.

Detective Chief Inspector Shaun West said:
"The detailed work we have done with these images means we are very confident this is our man.

"Although we can't go into detail for operational reasons, we are also extremely confident he lives in or regularly visits the South Yorkshire area.

"We need people in Lincolnshire to study these images and tell us if they think they know this man."

Monday, 6 September 2010

Simon Cavalier-Jones Quits Election Race

Lincolnshire's Simon Cavalier-Jones who until tonight had been in the running for the National Chairmanship of Conservative Future - the youth wing of the Conservative Party - announced that he was quitting the race.

In a message to supporters Mr. Cavalier-Jones said:
"I am pulling out of the race to be the next CF Chair. Unfortunately this is not due to any exciting revelation's about my private life, but due to new work related commitment's.

"I would like to thank everybody who has worked on my campaign, you have done a brilliant job. Namely I would like to thank (In no particular order) Philip Smith, Hamish Stewart, Muheed, Sophie Shrubsole, Jack Whalley, Reza Shah, Giles McNeill, Ed Turner, Luke Springthorne, Ben Mallett, Nic Careem, James Deighton, Chris Southeran, Mr Trynka-Watson X2, Annesley Abercorn, Ben Harris Quinney and of course Mrs Hamster. These are just a few of the people who have helped out or had to listen to my moaning!
"I am supporting Craig Cox for Chair and I hope you will do the same."
With the closure of nomination tomorrow at noon it is now widely expected that the fight will be between Cllr. Ben Howlett and Mr. Craig Cox.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Lincolnshire Residents Save Hundreds With New Insulation Scheme

A new scheme to cut residents' energy bills and reduce carbon emissions is being launched across Lincolnshire including West Lindsey.

Established by local councils and run by the Energy Saving Trust, the Home Energy Lincolnshire Partnership (HELP) scheme is the first of its kind in the area and will save residents hundreds of pounds each year on energy bills.

Under the HELP scheme, those over 60 or on qualifying benefits can receive cavity wall and loft insulation absolutely free, and everyone else can get it for the hugely discounted price of £49 for cavity wall and £79 for loft, subject to property survey and maximum sizes.

Insulating homes keeps heat where it's needed the most - inside, which means they will be warmer in winter and cheaper to heat.

Mr. Sean Johnson, Chair of HELP, said:
"We are delighted to be working with other Councils and partners to provide Lincolnshire residents with simple routes to saving money and carbon."
Insulating the loft can save the homeowner around £150 a year, and a further £115 a year can be saved by getting cavity wall insulation. In a time of rising energy prices and economic uncertainty this will be a blessing for those already struggling to keep up with spiralling fuel bills.

Around 10,000 homes are expected to benefit from the HELP scheme over the next twelve months, resulting in huge savings across the region.

Ms Denise Marsdon, Centre Manager for the Energy Saving Trust advice centre East Midlands, said:
"We are delighted to be able to support this scheme for the people of Lincolnshire. Not only will people save money at a time when they need it the most, but this will also go a long way toward helping to achieve Government targets for CO2 emissions reduction."
Teams of canvasses will be making their way around the County to offer this opportunity to residents and will have proper identification relating to the scheme, which residents should ask to see.

Homeowners can also apply for the HELP scheme by calling the Energy Saving Trust free on 0800 512 012