John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, March 30, 2008
  Brian Paddick Nominated
Brian Paddick has been formally nominated for Mayor of London. He is a very strong candidate as an individual. The supplementary vote system is interesting here. He could easily beat either Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson in a straight fight. The challenge is to get sufficient first preferences to end up in the run off.
 
Friday, March 28, 2008
  Election Results: Thursday 27th March 2008
Abbots Langley PC, Leavesden
LD Stephen Giles-Medhurst 865 (91.6), Lab 79 (8.4).
Majority 786. Turnout 24%. LD hold.

Hertfordshire CC, Bedwell
Lab 1452 (56.5; +1.0), Con 625 (24.3; -0.6), LD Len Lambert 329 (12.8; -6.8), UKIP 165 (6.4; +6.4).
Majority 827. Turnout 29%. Lab hold. (Percentage change since May 2005).

Rothwell TC, Trinity
Con 487 (49.1), Lab 337 (34.0), LD Daniel Garside 167 (16.9).
Majority 150. Turnout 32.8%. Con hold.

Stevenage DC, Pin Green
Lab 671 (54.8; +3.2), Con 303 (24.7; +1.7), LD Mary Griffin 149 (12.2; -0.3), UKIP 61 (5.0; +5.0), Green 41 (3.3; +3.3), [BNP (0.0; -12.9)].
Majority 368. Turnout 29%. Lab hold. (Percentage change since May 2007).

Wellingborough BC, Redwell West
Con 665 (61.0; -16.5), BNP 177 (16.2; +16.2), Lab 169 (15.5; -7.0), LD Jane Brown 40 (3.7; +3.7), UKIP 39 (3.6; +3.6), Green 37 (3.4; +3.4).
Majority 488. Turnout 43.4%. Con hold. (Percentage change since May 2007).

Further Result from Thursday 20th March 2008.

St Edmundsbury BC, Haverhill North
Con 426 (57.3; +2.5), Lab 255 (34.3; +2.1), UKIP 62 (8.3; +8.3), [LD (0.0; -12.9)].
Majority 171. Turnout 13.8%. Con hold. (Percentage change since May 2007).
 
Thursday, March 27, 2008
  EDM 1258
It took over a week for a Sub Judice check, but finally EDM 1258 has popped out of the system.

It recognises the need for action following the Slough Election Court judgment.
 
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
  Hammersmith Meets Adoption Target
The London Borough of Hammersmith announced on 10th March 2008 that they are pleased to get £500,000 from the government for hitting the government adoption target of 101 adoptions. (see link)

More than 100 children have been adopted in the borough during the last three years, after the Council met a target from central Government target that many experts thought would be unachievable.
The Government target, known as a Local Public Service Agreement (LPSA), challenged the Council to successfully achieve 101 adoptions or secure placements during the last three year period in return for £500,000 of funding


Note that local authorities have variously claimed "There are no numerical adoption targets" and the government has claimed that they don't set adoption targets.

Just in case this page goes walkabout from the Hammersmith website I have printed it to an image file
 
Sunday, March 23, 2008
  Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill
A number of constituents have written to me about the above Bill. It strikes me that this is an issue upon which I have no formally established position. On that basis I would wish to try to hold a public meeting at which Constituents (and only constituents) can attend to express their views about the issue.

I am not particularly religious, but I am worried at the extent to which we as a society are moving away from valuing people. I am quite uncomfortable with the idea of creating hybrid embryos. However, I think this is something that warrants a public meeting.

Anyone who is a constituent who wishes to be invited should contact my constituency office leaving their name and address. (Office number 0121 722 3417)
 
  Sub Post Offices - the management accounting error
There is a considerable amount of debate about sub-post offices again with many Labour MPs saying one thing in constituencies and doing another in the House of Commons.

The irony of this issue is that it relates to a misunderstanding and false management accounting in the "Counter Revolutions" report from the Cabinet office early this decade.

The "problem" for the post office network relates to the marginal contribution to overheads from each office for Post Office Ltd. It does not relate to the viability of individual sub-post offices (or at least it doesn't for 95% of the closures).

Postmasters are offered 28 months revenue to close when sale of the franchise would only get 24 months. That buys their silence.

Larger offices cost according to Post Office limited much the same as smaller offices for them to manage. The real rub is in the allocation of fixed central costs (this can be estimated from the report). These should be allocated by turnover, but are in fact allocated on a per office basis. This is wrong in an accounting sense and results in a decision making process that each time drives down the size of the network.

What should happen is a new model of sub-post office which operates on a more efficient basis from the centre. I do make this point in The House from time to time, but the Ministers just look confused.
 
Saturday, March 22, 2008
  Lunatics finally in complete command of Asylum
The link is to the Daily Telegraph story about children being on the Child Protection Register because their mother smacked one of them.

Bonkers.
 
  Election Results: Thursday 20th March 2008.
Arun DC, Yapton
Results not yet fully available.
(Apparently they are pinned up outside the Council Offices if anyone wants to read them. They will not be on their web site until Tuesday 25th March). Conservative 620, Labour 212, BNP 205

Havering LBC, Gooshays
BNP 865 (38.0; +9.8), Lab 741 (32.5; +6.6), Con 489 (21.5; -5.5), UKIP 70 (3.1; -7.6), National Liberal Party 62 (2.7; +2.7), LD Ian Sanderson 52 (2.3; +2.3), [Ind (0.0; -2.5)], [Residents (0.0; -5.6)].
Majority 124. Turnout 22.6%. BNP hold. (Percentage change since May 2006).

Lambeth LBC, Vassall
LD Steve Bradley 1209 (50.4; +14.9), Lab 859 (35.8; -8.4), Con 206 (8.6; -2.8), Green 109 (4.5; +4.5), English Democrats 8 (0.3; +0.3), Ind 7 (0.3; +0.3), [Respect (0.0; -8.9)].
Majority 350. Turnout 25.9%. LD gain from Lab. (Percentage change since May 2006).
 
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
  Post Office Confusion Continues
The usual Post Office confusion is continuing. The main problem that Post Office Limited has is that they don't get a central contribution to overheads from the smaller Sub-Post offices. Hence they want to close them down.

There are a small number (perhaps 5% of those closed) that themselves are not viable, but if you run a sub-post office in a shop it makes a smaller turnover viable.

Until this issue is resolved we will continue to have the number of offices driving down to around 4,500. For some reason the central costs are quite high. All of these needs to be reviewed.
 
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
  Slough Vote Fraud
Postal vote stuffing occurred in Slough. Richard Mawrey has presided over an Election Court that has done a good job. The executive summary is linked.

In this case it was a Conservative Candidate. I accept that a Lib Dem in Birmingham is being tried later this year. The point about the system is that it is unsafe.

He finishes with:
126) I concluded the Birmingham Judgment with the words:
The systems to deal with fraud are not working well. They are not working badly. The fact is that there are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are, fraud will continue unabated.

127) It would have been pleasant to conclude this judgment by saying that this had now all changed. But I cannot. Despite the 2006 Act, the opportunities for easy and effective electoral fraud remain substantially as they were on 4th April 2005.
 
Monday, March 17, 2008
  Lords of the Blog
This is what they say:

Lords of the Blog is a new collaborative online blog, launched and written by Members of the House of Lords to increase public engagement with the work of the Upper House and its Members.

Nine Peers have come together from across the House to make short regular entries providing an insight into the business of the House of Lords and to talk about their own activities in and around the Chamber. Members will write and upload material and moderate user comments themselves.

Find out why Lord Tyler decries the myth of a golden age of political reporting; Baroness D’Souza’s definition of a crossbencher and what Lord Norton has to say about Iain Dale’s request for nominations for the most fanciable political journalists.

For the next six months the Hansard Society will evaluate the pilot, capturing data about the audience of the blog in order to assess its reach and value.

Contributing Members include:
Lord Soley
Lord Norton
Lord Tyler
Lord Lipsey
Lord Dholakia
Baroness DSouza
Lord Teverson
Baroness Young of Hornsey
Baroness Murphy

The pilot is funded by the House of Lords and will run for six months initially. The blog has been running on a development site since January to help get the contributing members up to speed. All the posts published during this test period will be available to read.


There is also an aggregator for Members of the House of Commons.
 
Sunday, March 16, 2008
  Birmingham St Patrick's Day Parade March 16 2008 photos
As yet I don't have any photos, but will find the links on the net and edit this entry. If anyone has any links that should be added please comment.

As usual I played the guitar (which is why I don't have any photos), but the other musicians were not there this time and we (The Birmingham Tipperary County Association) were sandwiched between two pipe bands which made it impossible to sing (and be heard) most of the time.

It was a coldish day and threatened to rain, but the parade was good as ever. Lots of people filmed it so there should be plenty of coverage to link to later.

BBC News
More BBC photos
Birmingham Mail
Planned Flickr Meet
Rob McColl (Flickr)
Welsh Karen (Flickr)
ITV local
Tim Ellis (Flickr)
Matt Murtagh (Flickr)
bfmsp08 tag (one for the parade on Flickr)
Aerial photography from 2007
From 2006
some 2008 on talk photography
PJ Mccormick (Flickr)
More flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24833777@N08/
 
Saturday, March 15, 2008
  Standards Board Rides Again
I have difficulty understanding what the Standards Board for England is about.

An individual in Moseley called Safdar Zaman owns a building on the Moseley Road. This building has been subject to a large number of planning disputes over time and is currently the subject of a retrospective planning application.

Two Councillors (Mullaney and Hendricks) produced a video of the state of the building as part of campaigning to maintain the state of the building. At the end of the recording Mr Zaman assaulted the Councillors in an attempt to steal their camera.

The standards machinery has sprung into action and after a long drawn out process called upon the councillors to apologise to Mr Zaman for disrespecting him or be suspended for a month each.

This is a ludicrous thing for the Standards Board to Prosecute. There is a particular so called "Ethical Standards Officer" a mr Steven Kingston who seems to like having a go at ridiculous cases. He managed to almost bring to a halt London's system of government because Ken Livingstone was rude to a journalist. He has also now managed to disrupt Birmingham's system of government when councillors were doing something with local support.
 
Friday, March 14, 2008
  Results: Thursday 13th March 2008
Barnoldswick TC, Coates
Ind 368 (53.6), LD Alison Sauer 318 (46.4).
Majority 50. Turnout 16.7%. Ind hold.

Brent LBC, Queens Park
LD Simon Green 1242 (47.3; +11.2), Lab 851 (32.4; +2.7), Con 292 (11.1; -2.8), Green 239 (9.1; -5.7), [Ind (0.0; -5.5)].
Majority 391. Turnout 27%. LD hold. Last fought 2006.

Cotswold DC, Water Park
LD Peter Clarke 648 (55.5; +15.3), Con 519 (44.5; -15.3).
Majority 129. Turnout 26.2%. LD gain from Con. Last fought 2007.

Harrow LBC, Marlborough
Lab 972 (41.4; -2.1), LD Pete Budden 628 (26.7; +3.1), Con 507 (21.6; -11.3), BNP 97 (4.1; +4.1), Ind 74 (3.2; +3.2), Green 71 (3.0; +3.0).
Majority 344. Turnout 29.6%. Lab hold. Last fought 2006.

Kendal TC, Kendal Highgate
LD Andy Kaye 347 (67.5), Lab 105 (20.4), Con 62 (12.1).
Majority 242. Turnout 36.3%. LD hold.

Middlesbrough UA, Gresham
Lab 584 (47.9; -1.4), Ind 377 (31.0; +31.0), BNP 135 (11.1; +11.1), LD Don Theakston 78 (6.4; +6.4), Con 44 (3.6; +3.6), [Middlesbrough Independents (0.0; -50.7)].
Majority 207. Turnout 20.6%. Lab hold. Last fought 2007.

Middlesbrough UA, Marton West
Con 993 (63.0; +13.5), Lab 413 (26.2; -4.5), BNP 170 (10.8; +10.8), [LD (0.0; -19.8)].
Majority 580. Turnout 39.2%. Con hold. Last fought 2007.

Oxfordshire CC, Grove and Wantage
LD Jenny Hannaby 1901 (46.7; +11.1), Con 1786 (43.9; +11.0), Lab 382 (9.4; -14.3), [Green (0.0; -7.7)].
Majority 115. Turnout not known. LD hold. Last fought 2005.

Oxfordshire CC, Wallingford
Ind 867 (65.6; +65.6), Con 386 (29.2; -4.6), Lab 69 (5.2; -8.2), [English Democrats (0.0; -2.0)], [Green (0.0; -4.9)], [LD (0.0; -46.0)].
Majority 481. Turnout 19.7%. Ind gain from LD. Last fought 2005.

Snodland TC, Snodland East
Con 313 (52.2), Lab 287 (47.8).
Majority 26. Turnout 21%. Con gain from Lab.

Telford and Wrekin UA, Horsehay and Lightmoor
Con 358 (45.6; +6.8), Lab 172 (21.9; +1.6), Telford and Wrekin People's Association 145 (18.5; +18.5), Ind 110 (14.0; -26.9).
Majority 186. Turnout 33.4%. Con gain from Ind. Last fought 2007.

Telford and Wrekin UA, Wrockwardine
Con 918 (67.3; +15.3), LD Patricia Fairclough 306 (22.4; +22.4), Lab 141 (10.3; -5.9), [Ind (0.0; -31.8)].
Majority 612. Turnout 32.7%. Con hold. Last fought 2007.

Vale of White Horse DC, Wantage Charlton
Con 760 (45.6; +3.6), LD Lorraine Todd 731 (43.8; -3.8), Lab 177 (10.6; +0.2).
Majority 29. Turnout not known. Con gain from LD. Last fought 2007.

Wantage TC, Charlton
Con 791 (47.5), LD Monica Turcu 698 (41.9), Lab 178 (10.7).
Majority 93. Turnout not known. Con gain from LD.

Weston-super-Mare TC, Summer Lane
Con 296 (49.5), LD Robert Payne 165 (27.6), Lab 137 (22.9).
Majority 131. Turnout 21.4%. Con gain from LD
 
Thursday, March 13, 2008
  Camilla Cavendish
The linked story is about the two men currently imprisoned as a result of care proceedings in various ways.

These are not the only really weird things happening, but they are some that have escaped from the secrecy of the Family Courts.
 
Friday, March 07, 2008
  Results: Thursday 6th March 2008
Beaconsfield TC, Town
Con 319/315 (41.4), Beaconsfield Independent Electors Association 300/201 (39.0), Ind 151 (19.6).
Majorities 19/15. Turnout 26%. Con hold x 1 and Con gain from Beaconsfield Independent Electors Association x 1.

Haringey LBC, Highgate
LD Rachel Allison 1339 (50.9; +12.6), Con 725 (27.5; -1.5), Lab 241 (9.2; -1.2), Ind 190 (7.2; -4.5), Green 138 (5.2; -5.4).
Majority 614. Turnout 32.9%. LD hold. Last fought 2006.

Hebden Royd TC, Caldene
LD Karl Boggis 159 (78.7), Lab 43 (21.3).
Majority 116. Turnout 18%. LD hold.

Hebden Royd TC, White Lee
LD Jade Smith 166 (73.1), Lab 61 (26.9).
Majority 105. Turnout 17.4%. LD hold.

South Lanarkshire UA, Cambuslang East
Full details not yet available.
Turnout 25%. Lab gain from SNP. Last fought 2007.

Warwickshire CC, Lawford and New Bilton
Lab 724 (33.8; -7.9), Con 723 (33.7; +4.7), BNP 313 (14.6; +14.6), LD Diane Pask 235 (11.0; -3.3), Green 148 (6.9; +6.9), [Ind (0.0; -15.0)].
Majority 1. Turnout 28.9%. Lab hold. Last fought 2005.
 
Thursday, March 06, 2008
  Children Placed in Jersey
Minister avoids answering question:

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many local authorities in England with responsibility for children's services have placed children in the care of the States of Jersey since 1980; and what steps are being taken to ascertain the whereabouts of those people placed in care.


Kevin Brennan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Children, Schools and Families)
No provisions exist in law for the responsibility for children in care to be transferred from English local authorities to the States of Jersey.

Any English local authority proposing to make arrangements for a child in care to be placed outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales (which includes placing a child in Crown Dependencies such as Jersey) requires the permission of a court, the child's consent, and the permission of all those with parental responsibility for the child, before doing so. The placing local authority retains parental responsibility for the child in such cases, which includes the responsibility for safeguarding them and promoting their welfare, as well as (since 2001) keeping in touch with care leavers until at least the age of 21. Data on the numbers of children placed in Jersey by English local authorities is not collected centrally
 
  Lib Dem Votes on Referendum
These are people who voted generally for a referendum and the votes they voted in. Amendment 293 was the Conservative one, 296 was Ian Davidson's and allowed the possibility of a second question. There was then the Clause 8 stand part vote (sp).

Brooke, Annette 293 296 sp
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair 293 296
Farron, Tim 293 296
George, Andrew 293
Gidley, Sandra 293 sp
Hancock, Mr. Mike 293 296 sp
Heath, Mr. David 293 296
Hemming, John 293 296 sp
Holmes, Paul 293 296 sp
Horwood, Martin 293 296
Leech, John 296
Mulholland, Greg 293 296
Pugh, Dr. John 293 296
Williams, Mark 296
Younger-Ross, Mr. Richard 293 296 sp

There is supposed to be another Lib Dem MP, but the Public Whip analysis is not yet available and I haven't gone through the figures with a fine tooth comb.
 
  Government Report on Care Proceedings
John Hemming MP, Chairman of Justice for Families, has written to the Minister for Children, Kevin Brennan MP and Minister for Justice Bridget Prentice MP calling for the government to stop punishing women who are victims of Domestic Violence by taking their children away from them. "The Government recently published," he said, "a report which looked at the reasons for care proceedings. If we ignore, for the moment, the fact that some concerns are not well founded when investigated properly, it is quite illuminating to see what the figures are. This report only covered 386 cases, but it does give a rare glimpse behind the secrecy of the Family Courts."

"The report reveals that 51.1% of women who have had their children removed had it done so in part because they were victims of Domestic Violence. The argument the authorities use is that the children are subject to "emotional abuse" because of seeing mother and father fighting. Without disputing the fact that there may be circumstances in which children may need to be in a place of safety because of this, it is wrong to take the children away permanently because mother is a victim of abuse. This creates a situation in which mothers are frightened to report Domestic Violence because if they do so then they will suffer the permanent removal of their children. We should be dealing with the abuser rather than punishing the victim."

"The report reveals some of the other reasons used for permanent removal of children. 58.7% - not doing what the social workers say, 59% inconsistent parenting/emotional abuse, 52.4% chaotic lifestyle (the dirty kitchen issue), 26.4% missing school, 37.2% not doing what the doctors say or missing appointments, 17.4% mum was in care"

"We need a better consideration of when it is appropriate for the state to intervene and remove children permanently from their parents. In essence the current interpretation of S31 a) of the 1989 Act allows intervention in a very large proportion of families and it is therefore the outcomes are pretty random. We should not just remove children, for example, because their mother herself was in care."

"One of the reasons greater openness about Family proceedings is needed is to work out exactly when the state should intervene. The danger in the current system which allows draconian intervention in a large proportion of families is that we end up missing the children at risk of significant physical harm whilst spending time with families who haven't done the washing up when the social worker visits." Ends

Notes :Study on Justice Website see P80
Page 80 on JFF website
 
Sunday, March 02, 2008
  MPACUK
I was interviewed last month by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and their recording is as linked.
 

Click Here for access to higher resolution versions of the photos The license for use allows use of the photos by media as long as they are attributed.

better brent chart

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