John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, October 31, 2008
  Results: Thursday 30th October 2008.
Allerdale BC, Workington St John's
Lab 452 (35.6; -14.7)
Con 394 (31.0; -18.7)
BNP 257 (20.2; +20.2)
Ind 113 (8.9; +8.9)
Green 55 (4.3; +4.3)
Majority 58
Turnout 30%
Lab gain from Con
Percentage change is since 2007

Brentwood BC, Hutton South
Con 686 (73.4; -5.1)
LD Linda Price 199 (21.3; +6.4)
Lab 50 (5.3; -1.3)
Majority 487
Turnout 31.2%
Con hold
Percentage change is since 2008

Camden LBC, Kentish Town
LD Nick Russell 939 (36.5; +0.9)
Lab 863 (33.5; +3.2)
Green 518 (20.1; -6.3)
Con 171 (6.6; -1.1)
BNP 62 (2.4; +2.4)
UKIP 21 (0.8; +0.8)
Majority 76
Turnout 28.7%
LD hold
Percentage change is since 2006

South Oxfordshire DC, Thame North
Con 423 (50.5; +8.3)
LD Jeannette Matelot Green 287 (34.3; -9.5)
Lab 127 (15.2; +1.3)
Majority 136
Turnout 18.9%
Con hold
Percentage change is since 2007

Coedffranc Community Council, Coedffranc
Ind elected unopposed
Ind hold

Dover TC, St Radigunds
Lab 244 (32.7)
Con 219 (29.4)
LD Dean Stiles 93 (12.5)
Dover Alliance 86 (11.5)
Ind 72 (9.7)
Ind 32 (4.3)
Majority 25
Turnout 20.9%
Lab gain from Ind

Gainsborough TC, East
LD Mark Binns 327, John Ridley 318 (64.1)
Ind 183 (35.9)
Majorities 144/135
Turnout 10.1%
Ld hold x 2

Ystalyfera TC, Ystalyfera
Lab 311 (48.4)
PC 280 (43.5)
LD Sheila Waye 52 (8.1)
Majority 31
Turnout 27%
Lab gain from PC
Thursday, October 30, 2008
  Gordon Brown's Boom and Bust
It is relatively straightforward to find the budget speeches of the past decade. They speak for themselves.

Gordon Brown 1997
For most people the acquisition of a house is the biggest single investment they will make. Homeowners rightly expect their investment to be protected by sensible policies pursued by Government.

I am determined that as a country we never return to the instability, speculation, and negative equity that characterised the housing market in the 1980s and 1990s.

Volatility is damaging both to the housing market and to the economy as a whole.

So stability will be central to our policy to help homeowners. And we must be prepared to take the action necessary to secure it.

I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.

Gordon Brown 1998
Section 2: Stability and prudence
First, stability.

By spring last year, with consumer demand already rising by 5 per cent and the money supply by 11 per cent but industrial production up only 1½ per cent, the economy was exhibiting the same symptoms of instability from policy errors that produced the boom-bust economy of the late eighties.

To avoid a lurch backwards towards the kind of boom-bust instability that brought interest rates as high as 15 per cent in the late 80s, the Government, and then the Bank of England, took action to ensure stability. And I followed this tightening of monetary policy by putting in place a tough five year deficit reduction plan.

Gordon Brown 1999
Today's Budget is a Budget for Britain to succeed in the new economy and lead in the new century: a Budget that builds on a strong foundation of economic stability, advances a modern framework of efficient public services and encourages a dynamic Britain of enterprise and fairness.

Gordon Brown 2000
Amid the risks of an uncertain and often unstable global economy, we are determined to maintain our disciplined approach: determined not to make the old British mistakes of paying ourselves too much today at the cost of higher interest rates and fewer jobs tomorrow, determined not to make the old mistake of putting consumption before investment, the short term before the long term. Britain does not want a return to boom and bust.

Gordon Brown 2001
A prudent and responsible approach to the public finances has seen the Government reduce borrowing, while releasing substantial resources for key public services. It is determined to avoid a return to the cycle of boom and bust that has characterised the economy in recent decades.

Gordon Brown 2002
In the early 1990s imprudent assumptions about debt and related mistakes in fiscal policy contributed to the boom and bust that did so much damage.

Gordon Brown 2003
I turn to the housing market. I can now report that since 1997 an additional 1.1 million British families have become homeowners for the first time – home ownership benefiting from the lowest mortgage rates for forty years and rising in all parts of the UK and to 70 per cent of all households, the highest level in our history, higher than in America and Europe.
But while most mortgages elsewhere are fixed rate, most UK mortgages – 64 per cent of new mortgages – are at short term variable rates with most of the rest fixed for just one to five years.
And with housing demand at historically high levels, housing supply has remained low.
And this has contributed not just to, over thirty years, a rate of growth in house prices three times that of Germany and France, but to the volatility and inflexibility of the housing market as a whole – an issue on which we will publish a background study as part of the Treasury’s five tests assessment on the euro.
Indeed, most stop-go problems that Britain has suffered in the last fifty years have been led or influenced by the more highly cyclical and often more volatile nature of our housing market.
Housing finance needs to become more certain and planning more flexible. So I have asked David Miles – Professor of Finance at Imperial College – to examine the case for, and how, Britain can develop a market for long-term fixed rate mortgages – something that is important to the UK in or out of the euro, and more important in a single currency area.
The Deputy Prime Minister and I are asking Kate Barker, formerly of the CBI, to examine and report on how we can reduce barriers to increased housing supply. Backing up his decision to double public investment in new homes and the renovation of housing estates, and to speed up planning decisions, the Deputy Prime Minister is announcing that he will intervene where planning authorities fail to prepare proper plans or deliver an adequate supply of new housing; if necessary call in proposed major housing developments; and consider the case for binding local plans to increase certainty and ensure the stability of the housing market.

Gordon Brown 2004
Last week Professor David Miles recommended a more transparent and competitive market in mortgage finance, a set of recommendations that will now be considered by the Government and the Financial Services Authority. The report by Kate Barker published today concludes that the supply of new homes consistently lags behind demand and that the numbers of houses built in Britain – currently 175,000 a year – must rise substantially if we are to reduce house price inflation and increase the number of affordable homes for people wishing to buy and rent.
The Government today accepts the Barker recommendations for British real estate investment trusts to improve the supply of rented property; for the release of more public sector land; for – in each region – one body responsible for housing and planning; and, in principle, for extending the contaminated land credit in brownfield areas. And the Deputy Prime Minister will now consult on how we can increase the supply and affordability of housing, and what goals we should set, while striking the right balance between the economic and social case for development and environmental and housing needs.

Gordon Brown 2005
Those in this House who have forecast recession and those who have called our spending unaffordable have been consistently wrong and with the most recent figures published today for both economic growth and receipts, they are wrong again.

Gordon Brown 2006
As I have said before Mr Deputy Speaker: No return to boom and bust.

Gordon Brown 2007
And by holding firm to our commitment to maintain discipline in public sector pay, we will not only secure our 2 per cent inflation target but create the conditions for maintaining the low interest and mortgage rates that since 1997 have been half the 11 per cent average of the previous twenty years. And we will never return to the old boom and bust.

Alistair Darling 2008
Mr Deputy Speaker, the core purpose of this Budget is stability - now and in the future.
And its core values are fairness and opportunity, founded on stability and strength.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
  ITPOES - Peak Oil Again
I went to the Peak Oil Task Force launch at the Stock Exchange Today. Will Whitehorn, Jeremy Leggett, Brian Souter and Ian Marchant all demonstrated a very good understanding of the situation. It even sounded as if individual carbon budgets/tradeable carbon budgets found favour.

Interestingly their report (see link for their website) is perhaps not as stark as the warnings from the IEA.

They have agreed to do an APPGOPO event as well.

It is an interesting comparison between the readiness of the private sector (although they want some public sector interest) and the lack of urgency in central government.
  Climate Change Bill - the government admits being clueless
I intervened a number of times during the Climate Change Bill Third Reading. The link is to the debate in Hansard. I will extract the interventions and my speech then comment.

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I am slightly confused about this issue. Last Monday, the Prime Minister said that we needed a constantly rising supply of oil, notwithstanding the use of renewables. Does the Minister have any idea of whether our oil consumption is expected to fall over time—whether or not aviation and shipping are included—and in which year would we first see a fall?

Joan Ruddock: I shall not speculate on the extraneous matters that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

John Hemming: I am a little confused by the Prime Minister saying that we need an ever-increasing supply of oil. Does the hon. Gentleman believe that as a result of the Bill there will be a reduction in the amount of crude oil used by this country?

Gregory Barker: I do not think there is going to be an immediate reduction in the amount of crude oil used as a result of this Bill, because the Bill is simply a framework. It is a form of regulating and auditing our emissions; it sets targets. What we need to follow the Bill is a really ambitious transformational set of policies, which will allow an incoming Conservative Government to effect the sort of dynamic changes that have been so absent during the past 10 years, but without harming our international competitive position. The big danger of the Bill is that people place too much emphasis on the targets and auditing mechanisms contained in it, which are then mistaken for policies that will deliver the transformation to a low-carbon economy that is imperative. We will not find them in the Energy Bill. A whole range of policies are sadly lacking from this Government, but would not be lacking from an incoming Conservative Administration.

John Hemming: I thank my hon. Friend for giving way to my standard question about oil. Last week the Prime Minister said that we needed an ever-increasing supply of oil, which confused me in the light of our objective of having a low-carbon economy, because burning oil creates carbon dioxide and water primarily. Will my hon. Friend share his views on whether we can satisfy the objectives of the Bill, with or without the inclusion of aviation and shipping, while having an ever-increasing supply of oil?

Steve Webb: I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for that helpful intervention. From our perspective we need to get on with decarbonising the economy. The goal of an ever-increasing supply of oil is literally nonsense and should certainly not be an aim of Government policy.

John Hemming: I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman my usual question. If we are going to reduce carbon emissions, why do we need a constantly increasing supply of oil?

Dr. Strang: The important thing is the demand for oil. We must use less oil; that is not in dispute. Obviously, we want to use less oil, and fewer fossil fuels. I do not quite grasp the hon. Gentleman’s point—

John Hemming rose—

Mr. Gummer: I think I will leave the issue of oil alone, as it has been somewhat widely discussed but is not entirely germane, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to the issues that concern us at this moment.

John Hemming: Will the hon. Lady give way?

Nia Griffith: I shall give way, but if the matter is about oil, I suspect that you would prefer me not to refer to it at this stage, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

John Hemming: I find it somewhat confusing when we talk about shipping emissions. A significant point about shipping is that the consumption of energy is linked to the fourth power of the velocity, which is an important reason why it is possible to reduce shipping emissions. However, all these things are powered by oil. If we do not take any view about whether we need a constant supply of oil, there will be a problem.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Lady was prescient. Obviously, we want to have a good debate, but we have a formidable Order Paper before us and we need also to make reasonable progress.

Nia Griffith: This issue is about counting and monitoring, which is why it is important that we include mechanisms in the Bill such as making provision on advice and listening to the Committee on Climate Change. Those are the tools that we are using. The monitoring and reporting processes, and the targets that we put in place, will make us think about how we achieve the necessary reductions in emissions and how we create a low-carbon economy.

Alan Simpson (Nottingham, South) (Lab): I had hoped that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (John Hemming) would be here for his customary intervention on this issue. The answer to the question about oil is that by the time we come out of the current global financial crisis, two things will be queuing up. The first will be the climate crises already in the pipeline. Secondly, by that time we will probably have passed the peak oil level anyway, and we will have to move to a post-oil economy if we want a viable economy of any sort.

John Hemming: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hurd: If it is about oil, the answer is no.

John Hemming: It is about shipping.

Mr. Hurd: All right.

John Hemming: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that shipping is one of the modes of transport that, historically, operated without any carbon emissions?

John Hemming: I am pleased to follow the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Alan Simpson) because, apart from the fact that I have no confidence in the Government, his speech contained little of substance with which I disagree.

The Government’s attitude to new clauses 10 and 11 demonstrates their attitude to the Bill. They resolve to be good, but not yet. We must therefore consider the direction of travel on the consumption of fossil fuels, of which the three main ones are gas, coal and oil.

The Government clearly want more oil burned every year. The Prime Minister said that—at column 33 of last Monday’s Hansard. Tonight, we had confirmation that the Government’s objective is to build some nice new coal power stations. The second law of thermodynamics constrains the energy efficiency, but the Government are saying that the power stations will not be carbon capture systems and that we will simply emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Those power stations may be more efficient because the engines are better designed, but the Government do not intend to try to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. That leaves gas. If we are going to burn more oil, more coal and, one therefore presumes, more gas, we are not going in the direction of reducing carbon emissions.

The reality is that we have to start somewhere. At some point, we have to say, “We’re going to reduce carbon emissions, so we don’t need more oil, more coal or more gas,” and we should have a strategy for that. It may take time to change direction, but we cannot have constant increases in oil supplies, which is what the Prime Minister says we require.

All our constituents are crying out about the increasing costs of energy. I happen to take the view that the UK has gone far too far down the free market route and that the European model is far better, which is not necessarily something on which I am 100 per cent. aligned with my party. The green new deal is an option. We have managed to find £50 billion for the banks, but what about £50 billion to sort out the energy intensity of gross domestic product? That should not necessarily be the precise figure of course, but the principle that we should invest in energy efficiency to reduce the amount of energy used and, by reducing demand, thus reduce prices must be the way forward.

New clause 10 basically says, “Let’s get on with it and do something,” but the Government do not want to know, while new clause 11 would introduce a permissive power. I accept that “may” in new clause 11 should be “shall”, but the Government do not even want that. They have therefore taken a very clear view: they are in favour of being good, but not yet.

What you see in the interventions is that some MPs recognise that we actually need to change direction towards using less fossil fuels. Others don't see the relevance and think it is merely an issue of counting.

Sadly the government are of the mind set that sees increasing fossil fuel usage at least in the near future.
  FT says oil production constrained
The linked story is based upon an IEA report which indicates a depletion rate of 9.1% rather than the normally expected figure of 8%.

There is still some vague exhortations to investment, but frankly there should now start to be a recognition that the geological constraints on the availability of oil have to lead to a change in the assumptions behind economic planning.

We must plan for reductions in oil availability rather than increases.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
  Reform Maths Quiz
It is interesting that Reform in announcing that I am one of the top 5 in their maths quiz have said:

Reform’s Deputy Director, Elizabeth Truss, said: “As we enter the worst recession in living memory, we need politicians who can do the math.”

I am, however, not as free market a politician as Reform would like. For example I take the view that we need medium term stability in energy markets something that a pure free market does not provide.
Friday, October 24, 2008
  Results: Thursday 23rd October 2008.
Charnwood BC, Loughborough Dishley and Hathern
Lab 838 (49.7; +5.0)
Con 490 (29.1; -9.7)
BNP 234 (13.9; -2.6)
LD Diane Horn 107 (6.4; +6.4)
National Front 16 (0.9; +0.9)
Majority 348
Turnout 35.5%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Chichester DC, East Wittering
Con 410 (40.3; +6.6)
LD Mary Green 364 (35.8; +7.0)
BNP 125 (12.3; +12.3)
Lab 69 (6.8; -0.4)
UKIP 49 (4.8; +4.8)
[Ind (0.0; -30.3)]
Majority 46
Turnout 25.1%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

East Dorset DC, Alderholt
Con 499 (53.0; -12.5)
LD David Tooke 442 (47.0; +19.7)
Majority 57
Turnout 41.8%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Merthyr Tydfil UA, Town
Lab 580 (35.7; +16.7)
LD Nigel Hulbert 461 (28.4; -18.1)
Ind 277 (17.0; -1.8)
Ind 125 (7.7; +7.7)
Ind 110 (6.8; +6.8)
PC 72 (4.4; -11.3)
Majority 119
Turnout 28%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2008

Ribble Valley BC, Billington and Old Langho
Con 350 (61.1; +10.3)
LD John Green 181 (31.6; -17.6)
Lab 42 (7.3; +7.3)
Majority 169
Turnout 24.6%
Con gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007

Spelthorne BC, Ashford East
Con 858 (51.7; -1.4)
LD Diane Appleby 452 (27.3; +13.4)
UKIP 185 (11.2; +11.2)
Lab 163 (9.8; -3.1)
[Green (0.0; -20.1)]
Majority 406
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Westminster LBC, Lancaster Gate
Con 805 (60.3; -4.4)
LD Sue Baring 325 (24.3; +6.6)
Lab 205 (15.4; -2.3)
Majority 480
Turnout 15.9%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2006

Wolverhampton MBC, Wednesfield North
Con 1295 (45.3; +0.1)
Lab 1072 (37.5; +3.0)
BNP 337 (11.8; -3.6)
LD Ian Jenkins 156 (5.5; +0.5)
Majority 223
Turnout 31.7%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Wolverhampton MBC, Wednesfield South
Con 1123 (45.2; -16.1)
Lab 867 (34.9; +8.0)
BNP 358 (14.4; +14.4)
LD John Steatham 134 (5.4; -1.4)
[Green (0.0; -4.9)]
Majority 256
Turnout 28.5%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007
  Chris Bryant continuing the oil consumption question
The point about the following is that we continue the question as to whether over time the government expect the UK to use less oil. I accept the point about balancing priorities, but there will be an aggregate cut in usage forced on the country. Trying to deny this just makes the adjustment harder.

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I congratulate the Deputy Leader of the House on the skill with which he is defending the indefensible on issues such as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

On Monday I raised the issue of oil with the Prime Minister, at columns 33 to 34 of Hansard, and he said that we needed a constantly increasing supply. I find that rather strange, because if we are going to do something about climate change we need to reduce the consumption of oil. May we have a debate about the pressures on Ministers? The Prime Minister has clearly lost the plot, and perhaps the Deputy Leader of the House, standing in for his boss, standing in for her boss, would do a better job.

Chris Bryant: I confess that I have not the faintest idea what point the hon. Gentleman was trying to make towards the end. Perhaps he can elucidate it to me later.
There is a real difficulty when considering climate change. My constituency is quite isolated from most of the labour market in south Wales, and historically people came to live in the Rhondda because there was coal there. Now there are no coal mines. A car is therefore absolutely essential for people to be able to get to work. We must balance the needs of people who need to drive their cars with the need to cut emissions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008
  Oil Market Reports
On current figures production is Jun 86.51 Jul 87.80 Aug 86.78. September is expected to drop about 1mbd. Estimated global demand is Q3 86.51 Q4 88.03. Q4 has heating demand in the northern hemisphere.

We can see that production has been greater than demand for almost a year now, but looks like going back into an excess of demand over production. If OPEC manage to contract supply a bit then it could drive up earlier, but a price response will probably happen before winter is out.
  HFE Bill - Report and Third Reading
I voted against the programme motion on the basis that it was curtailing debate wrongly. I voted for a number of amendments, but against one that simply messed up the wording. I then voted against the Third Reading.

The general reasoning was that the GMC continue to refuse to investigate unethical research. Hence we need as tight as possible criminal controls on research until the regulatory systems and health authorities are willing to properly investigate detailed documented evidence of unethical research (including giving babies lethal concentrations of Carbon Monoxide even if not for lethal periods).
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
  Prime Minister loses the plot on peak oil and climate change
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat) Hansard source
The recent high prices and volatility in the price of oil is symptomatic of geological constraints on supply—also known as peak oil and gas. Do the Government have a view as to when peak production will occur globally, and does the Prime Minister believe that it is worth doing that research?
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour) Hansard source
The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the question of supplies of oil for the future. That is concerning all countries. Not only do we need stability of supply, but, even as we move into nuclear and renewables, we will need a constantly rising supply of oil. That means that we must ensure that the demand for oil is met by supply, otherwise the price will go up again. We are, therefore, looking at what supply of oil there is, and we are trying in the North sea to increase the production that is available from some of the smaller marginal fields as well as from some of the fields that have previously been explored and developed but not exhausted.

Gordon Brown seemed quite pleased with himself on this relatively technical question. His answer, however, demonstrated that he did not understand the implications of the question.

Note he says: Not only do we need stability of supply, but, even as we move into nuclear and renewables, we will need a constantly rising supply of oil.

Someone needs to tell him that this is impossible. Furthermore if it were ever to happen we could never hit the CO2 targets.
Monday, October 20, 2008
  The bank restructure a few figures
I found out that the contracts for the bank restructure are in the Commons Library. (This available on the net here, but be careful they are 15Mb. I have had a glance through them and not warranting anything about the figures it appears that RBS is issuing 22,863,936,713 shares at 65.5, HBOS 7,482,933,000 shares at 113.6 and LLOY 2,885,200,000 shares at 173.3. The government is getting an underwriting fee of 1.5%. On the market figures today it looks like the RBS shares will be mainly issued to other than the government. Lloyds is touch and go, but the government may end up holding a lot of HBOS.

Also the preference shares are to be listed immediately. That would allow the government to sell them at a profit.

  Family Law Reporter
There is clearly some good news in that the government have responded to New Clauses 8 and 9 with something.

If we can get family court proceedings reported then we should be able to get something done about the corruption in the system. The challenge, of course, is to ensure that it is reported.

Hence I intend to ensure that a Family Law Reporter media outlet starts business. This will ensure that the stories the judges don't want to get told are told as well as those that the judges want told.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
  Derivatives again (probably)
The link is to a story about a French bank losing about 600m Euros. This has to be a derivatives trade.

It always surprises me how little understanding the senior management of some banks seem to have about the risk profile of derivatives.

It is a bit like juggling with bombs. It is ok until you drop one.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
  The UK Banking Rescue - Investment commentary
I want to have a more detailed look at the proposals for the UK banking rescue.

Firstly this is based upon the system used in Sweden. It was, in fact, the Liberal Democrats that proposed this first. The idea for the equity is that the government underwrites a rights issue. A rights issue is where people who already hold shares are allowed to buy more at a cheaper price than they originally bought.

If they decide not to put any more money in then the underwriter buys the shares. The underwriter charges a fee. In this case the underwriter is the government.

The question, of course, is the price of the rights issue. For RBS the current price is around 68p. It is difficult to find published figures as to the rights price, but a broker I know believes it is 65p.

The other thing the government is doing is putting in some subordinated debt. The point about such debt is that it is more secure than equity. In the UK they are charging a rate of 12% whereas in the US it is 5-6% (figures from newspapers).

Actually I think the UK approach is right. Taking RBS again this would involve the £5bn of debt getting £600m interest a year.

Firstly if you start with the RBS profit of £9bn (or so) that is not that much. Secondly, it encourages private sector finance to replace the government finance (actually almost immediately unless you believe that the company is going bust).

Look at it from the investors point of view. If you invest in these bonds at say 11% it pays better than even the Icelandic banks. Your only problem is if the bank goes bust, but it is clear that this won't happen. The interst charge is not actually that painful to the bank.

So we now have say £8bn of operating profit (apart from any exceptional losses).
This works out at about 90p per share.

So we now have the shares at 65p. The governent is going for a rights issue that could give 60% to the government. So that is 1 1/2 times 65p. Viz near enough £1.

So if you buy a share at 65p and pay £1 you have 90p of profit.

Realistically on a "going forwards" basis a bank should trade on a price earnings ratio of at least 10 which gives a price for this "share" of £9. So if you buy a share now and then pay the rights you get a share of £1.65 which is worth £9 (over time).

That's at the rights price. This gives a potential gain over time of more than 5 times.

That is why I would be surprised if the rights issue is not mainly taken up by private investors. I would also be surprised if private investors don't replace the government's planned debentures/preferntial shares/bonds (whatever you want to call them).

So. If that is the logic you would say why don't you put your money where your mouth is. Well, I have and mainly at 63p. Someone has to show confidence in the UK market. It matters to a lot of people mainly through pensions etc.

Peak Oil as an economic issue remains important. There will be a quite a few "exceptionals" as a result of property over valuation, but confidence should have been restored to the banking market at least.
Friday, October 17, 2008
  Results: Thursday 16th October 2008
Kirklees MBC, Dewsbury East
Still counting (12:09pm Friday 17-10-2008)

Kirklees MBC, Dewsbury East
Lab 1513 (37.4; -2.0)
LD Dennis Hullock 1405 (34.8; +14.3)
BNP 690 (17.1; -10.6)
Con 345 (8.5; -3.9)
Green 58 (1.4; +1.4)
Ind 17 (0.4; +0.4)
Ind 15 (0.4; +0.4)
Majority 108
Turnout 31%
Lab gain from BNP
Percentage change is since May 2008

Redcar and Cleveland BC, South Bank
Lab 652 (49.9; -0.6)
LD Toni Meir 288 (22.1; +12.3)
BNP 206 (15.8; +1.4)
Ind 101 (7.7; -7.3)
Con 59 (4.5; -5.8)
Majority 364
Turnout 27.6%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Tewkesbury BC, Churchdown Brookfield
Ind 598 (39.0; +2.2)
LD Tony Stokes 508 (33.2; -7.0)
Con 364 (23.8; +5.8)
Lab 62 (4.0; -0.9)
Majority 90
Turnout 45.3%
Ind gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007

Watford BC, Tudor
LD Darren Walford 932 (50.0; +3.1)
Con 486 (26.1; -12.4)
Lab 273 (14.6; +4.0)
Green 91 (4.9; +0.9)
BNP 83 (4.5; +4.5)
Majority 446
Turnout 40.8%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
  QALY - Quality Adjusted Life Years
NICE use QALYs to calculate the effectiveness of drugs. I heard tonight that someone aged 60 cannot have a QALY of more than 0.6 per year.

This sounds very wrong, but is not clear on the NICE site.

It may be this is the reason why NICE have been so difficult on revealing their formulae.

The challenge now is to get to the Truth.
  Grandparents - what rights?
The link is to a daily mail story which demonstrates the self-serving nature of some of the practitioners who behave in an unaccountable manner.

This is a specific criticms of a number of practitioners, not all practitioners.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
  Council of Europe Enquiry
A further resolution at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been tabled as part of the Enquiry process.

(Link for full details)
1. The Assembly recognises that the protection of human rights is one of the Council of Europe’s core values. It recognises that children are particularly vulnerable and that systems must be in place to protect those children considered “at risk”.

2. The Assembly believes, however, that those who are tasked with protecting children need to be accountable for their actions and need to operate in a way which protects the human rights of all the people they are dealing with.

3. The Assembly notes the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, X. v. Croatia (Application No. 11223/04) dated 17 July 2008, which held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) on account of the applicant’s exclusion from the proceedings which resulted in her daughter being adopted.

4. The Assembly believes that the use of mental incapacity by Croatia to exclude a person from involvement in their children’s future is wrong and not only violates Article 6 (right to a fair trial) but also Article 8 (right to family life) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

5. The Assembly notes that in the United Kingdom, the 1989 Children’s Act is the main legislation governing child protection and that Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) provides guardians ad litem for children in care cases.

6. The Assembly further notes that since the start of 2008, when Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) became the regulator for Cafcass, it has issued two reports which have criticised the standards used by Cafcass. It said: “Inspectors could not find evidence about how service managers satisfy themselves that family court advisers are reaching sound conclusions in order to make the right recommendations to courts about children’s lives”. It found that “most reports contain recommendations to the court that fail to take account of a key principle of the Children’s Act that there should be minimum state intervention in family life”.

7. The Assembly notes that there are over 100 cases a year in England and Wales in which an organ of the state (the Official Solicitor) displaces a parent in proceedings which may lead to the adoption of their child or children.

8. The Assembly further notes that mothers have had their children removed because they were victims of domestic violence or on the basis of medical evidence for which there had been no second opinion.

9. The Assembly further notes that England habitually gives judgment in family proceedings without the judgment being in public (in conflict with Article 6). This Assembly notes that there can be an argument for anonymity, but not for the reasoning of the court to be kept secret which means that the court’s reasoning is not properly accountable.

10. The Assembly believes that these reports and concerns provide evidence of possible violation by the United Kingdom of Articles 6, 8 and 13.

11. The Assembly notes that Portugal also operates a system of forcible adoption where the parents, having not willingly given up their parental rights, have children forcibly adopted away from them.

12. The Assembly therefore believes that there is sufficient evidence and concern about the operation of family courts in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights in Croatia, Portugal and the United Kingdom to request that an investigation be carried out.
Friday, October 10, 2008
  Results: Thursday 9th October 2008
Bristol UA, St George West
LD Tony Potter 923 (34.0; +9.1)
Lab 816 (30.1; -8.2)
Con 509 (18.8; -18.1)
Ind 257 (9.5; +9.5)
Green 116 (4.3; +4.3)
English Democrats 93 (3.4; +3.4)
Majority 107
Turnout 32.9%
LD gain from Lab
Percentage change is since May 2007

Cheshire CC, Knutsford
Con 1647 (58.7; +11.4)
LD Caroline Aldhouse 818 (29.1; -2.0)
Lab 342 (12.2; -9.4)
Majority 829
Turnout 28%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2005

Cheshire East UA, Knutsford
Con 1679 (59.7; +2.1)
LD Caroline Aldhouse 817 (29.0; +5.0)
Lab 318 (11.3; -7.2)
Majority 862
Turnout 28%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008

East Hampshire DC, Holybourne and Froyle
Con 424 (54.6; -13.6)
LD Dean-Paul Phillips 352 (45.4; +21.6)
[Ind (0.0; -8.0)]
Majority 72
Turnout 35.6%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Haringey LBC, Alexandra
LD Nigel Scott 1460 (49.9; -6.0)
Lab 772 (26.4; +5.9)
Con 443 (15.2; +6.3)
Green 221 (7.6; -7.3)
BNP 27 (0.9; +0.9)
Majority 688
Turnout 35%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2006

Isle of Wight UA, Mount Joy
Con 286 (45.5; -2.7)
LD Stephanie Wilmott 155 (24.6; -5.7)
Ind 150 (23.8; +23.8)
Lab 38 (6.0; -12.8)
[Liberal (0.0; -2.6)]
Majority 131
Turnout 31.6%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2005

Kent CC, Herne Bay
Con 2474 (47.7; +10.3)
LD Margaret Flaherty 1524 (29.4; -3.3)
Lab 537 (10.4; -12.8)
BNP 399 (7.7; +7.7)
UKIP 252 (4.9; -1.9)
Majority 950
Turnout 23.2%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2005

Southwark LBC, Rotherhithe
LD Wilma Nelson 1149 (56.8; +9.2)
Lab 618 (30.6; +5.3)
Con 255 (12.6; -4.3)
[Green (0.0; -10.2)]
Majority 531
Turnout 23.8%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2006

Stroud TC, Central
Green 183 (60.6)
LD Graham Lloyd-Jones 119 (39.4)
Majority 64
Turnout 19%
Green hold

Wantage TC, Segsbury
LD Peter Kent 328 (49.8)
Con 201 (30.5)
Lab 130 (19.7)
Majority 127
Turnout 24%
LD gain from Con

West Lindsey DC, Middle Rasen
Con 400 (76.2; +36.5)
UKIP 125 (23.8; +13.4)
[LD (0.0; -49.9)]
Majority 275
Turnout 22.5%
Con gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007

Further Result from Howard Middleton

25th September 2008.

Ilkley PC, Ilkley South
Ind 342 (72.0)
LD Vaughan Bruce 133 (28.0)
Majority 209
Turnout 21%
Ind gain from Con.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
  New Clause 8 - talked out by the government
New Clause 8 was the clause to increase accountability and reduce miscarriages of justice in the family courts.

This fell yesterday because it didn't have time. It was in fact this amendment that was talked out by the government not the smacking ones - they came later.

The way amendments work at the report stage is that they come in strings. Once The House has started to debate a string then any votes required to conclude the business can occur.

Yesterday's strings were:
Long-term residential placements and duties on local authorities
Govt NC19 + NC6 + NC24 + NC26 + NC28 + 13 + 14 + 18
+ Govt 8 + Govt 9

NC7 + NC13 + NC23

Family proceedings

Human rights, immigration agency, pilots etc
NC17 + 5 + Govt 4 + 6

Reasonable chastisement
NC18 + NC25 + 15 + 16

Supplementary and technical provisions
Govt 7 + Govt 10 + Govt NS1

You can see the amendments themselves on the parliament website Under the bill here.

What the government did was to delay the 10 minute rule bill by having a division in which there were delays lobby. See hansard

Then Labour MPs were introduced to the debate and the first string took 3 hours. Because the division was not on the leading amendment then that division would be taken after the knife (guillotine) at 6pm. The second string took 1 hour including extra speakers (longer than needed) and the minister stopped about 30 seconds before the knife. This guaranteed that the third string would not start and hence there would be no division on NC8. There was a division on NC7 at the end of the second string because it was the lead amendment.

At least I have to be positive that the government didn't want to face a vote on the New Clause. Perhaps they will divvy up on their commitment for reform now.

The good news, however, is that both Conservatives and Lib Dems were officially backing the new clause.
Well, Iceland has a population of around 320,000. What we seem to have from Iceland is Bjork and dodgy banks. It is bigger by population than the Wirral and slightly smaller by population than Wakefield. Were it to be an English local authority by population it would be the unlucky 13th largest.

If they borrow approx £3bn from Russia that works out at around £10,000 per resident (including babies). More importantly this is real money that is needed to be paid back to Russia. The funding offered by the UK government is the availability of funds which in itself is likely to make the actual offering of funds less likely.

HSBC have already said that they don't want any money from the government. It is obviously best for banks not to have to call on the solvency money and when people are assured of solvency then they should be comfortable to provide private liquidity.

This is, however, uncharted territory.

There are two big problems that face the world and this country to varying levels. In the world there is a property overvaluation. This has been exacerbated by the government's policies in this country so they have to accept some responsibility for this. The second problem is a shortage of energy that is over time likely to get more severe. In the UK was have made a really big mess of energy planning that so far has affected prices, but not caused power cuts. It is likely to cause power cuts as usual depending mainly on the weather.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
  Bailing out the banks' customers and their customers/employees
I tend to think that the UK proposals with Tier 1 capital for the banks are better than the USA proposals which involve the government buying "toxic" debt. Although some of the "toxic" debt may indeed be quite sweet and undervalued what the USA proposals do is to reward the shareholders.

What the UK proposals do is to underpin the banks so that the government gets its money back, but the shareholders and management only win out once stability returns and the consequences of their decisionmaking is recognised.

To that extent they do not bail out the banks, but instead bail out the banks' customers.

For those that argue for insolvency they need merely to look at what has happened with IceSave where the bank accounts have been frozen. Imagine what would happen if a big bank's accounts got frozen. People's wages would stop being paid and noone would be able to pay for anything until the administration had made some progress.

To that extent this bails out the banks' customers employees, customers and suppliers. The shareholders of the bank still have to cope with the final outcome of decisionmaking whatever that may be.

What we need now also is a cut in interest rates.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
  Second opinions in Family Courts
The link is to bailli for the Oldham case where the judge in the Court of first instance and the Court of Appeal (initially) refused a second opinion for innocent parents.
Monday, October 06, 2008
  Plumbers to spot child abuse
The link is to an article about how plumbers at Lincoln City Council are going to be trained to spot child abuse.

What all of this ignores is that more people that are under pressure to report things the more reports there will be. The system's problem is not a lack of reports, but instead a lack of action.

The more reports there are the less action there will be as there is no additional resource going into the system to handle the reports.

Obviously people should be concerned about child abuse, but we really need to concentrate on the serious cases and not overwhelm the practitioners with masses of reports of situations which frankly often don't require any intervention.
  Malcolm Wicks going as well
One little snippet in the middle of the government reshuffle is the departure of Malcolm Wicks.

Malcolm Wicks has been responsible for Energy issues although how much freedom of manouvre he has had is unclear. Our energy situation is a total mess. We continue to have insufficient gas storage even though the situation is clear. The market trades at the marginal price resulting in increasing fuel poverty and an expectation of a growth in winter deaths. The start of the next decade seems to be worse than the current situation in terms of electricity and we don't have enough generation infrastructure for demand.

It is a little confusing reading National Grid's Winter Outlook. They have a very low figure for LNG imports this winter. However, people are expecting much more. They are also expecting a lot from Norway, but there does not seem to be good evidence for this.

It will take some time to bottom out the gas predictions as they have done the report in a different structure to previous years. However, it does not fill me with confidence as far as energy security goes. Without energy security we then have massive price jumps.

Malcolm Wicks has been named as a "special representative to the PM" on Energy issues. I am not sure what this means. In any event the whole government have to accept responsibility for the energy mess that we currently have.
  Government Reshuffle in full
RESHUFFLE: Ministerial appointments

The Prime Minister has completed his reshuffle.

Downing have announced the following appointments:

Liam Byrne MP, John Healey MP, Jim Knight MP, David Lammy MP, Pat
McFadden MP, Anne
McGuire MP, Malcolm Wicks MP and Michael Wills MP are to be made members
of Her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council.

Stephen Carter CBE and Paul Myners CBE. are to become Life Peers.

Other Ministers:

Law Officers:

Attorney General - The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC ***

Solicitor General - Vera Baird QC MP

Advocate General for Scotland - Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC


Financial Secretary - The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP

Minister of State - Phil Woolas MP**** (jointly with the Home Office)

Economic Secretary - Ian Pearson MPf (jointly with the Department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Exchequer Secretary - Angela Eagle MPf

Financial Services Secretary - Paul Myners CBEJ


Minister of State (Europe) - The Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP***

Minister of State (Middle East and Africa) - The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-

Minister of State - Bill Rammell MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Gillian Merron MP


Minister of State - The Rt Hon David Hanson MP

Minister of State - Michael Wills MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Bridget Prentice MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Shahid Malik MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* - Lord Bach (and Lord in

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Maria Eagle MP (jointly with
the Government Equalities Office)


Minister of State - Phil Woolas MP (jointly with HM Treasury

Minister of State - Vernon Coaker MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Meg Hillier MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Alan Campbell MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Admiral Lord West of
Spithead GCB DSC


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP

Minister of State - Ben Bradshaw MP (and Minister for the South

Minister of State - Phil Hope MP (and Minister for the East Midlands)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Professor Lord Darzi of
Denham KBE

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ann Keen MP


Minister of State - Pat McFadden MP

Minister of State - Gareth Thomas MP (jointly with Department for
International Development)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ian Pearson MP (jointly
with HM Treasury)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Stephen Carter CBE Jointly with
Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Shriti Vadera
(jointly with Cabinet Office)


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Jane Kennedy MP

Minister of State - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE (jointly with
Department of Energy and Climate Change); and Deputy Leader of
the House of Lords

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Huw Irranca-Davies MP


Minister of State - Gareth Thomas MP (jointly with the Department for
Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ivan Lewis MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Michael Foster MP


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - The Rt Hon Baroness
Taylor of Bolton

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Quentin Davies MP*

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Kevan Jones MP*


Parliamentary Secretary - Chris Bryant MP*

Parliamentary Secretary - Maria Eagle MP (jointly with the Ministry of


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP**

Minister of State - John Healey MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - lain Wright MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Andrews OBE

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Sadiq Khan MP


Minister of State - Lord Adonis

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Jim Fitzpatrick MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Paul Clark MP*


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Beverley Hughes MP*** (and Minister
for the North West)

Minister of State - Jim Knight MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Morgan of

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Sarah McCarthy-Fry MP


Minister of State - Mike O'Brien MP

Minister of State - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE (jointly with
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); and Deputy
Leader of the House of Lords

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Joan Ruddock MP


Minister of State - The Rt Hon Tony McNulty MP** (and Minister for

Minister of State - The Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP (and Minister for
Yorkshire and the Humber)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Jonathan Shaw MP (and
Minister for the South East)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Kitty Ussher MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord MacKenzie of Luton


Minister of State - Paul Goggins MP


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Barbara Follett MP (and
Minister for the East of England)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Gerry Sutcliffe MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Stephen Carter CBE (jointly
with Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)


Minister of State - David Lammy MP

Minister of State - Lord Drayson* & **

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Sion Simon MP*

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* - Lord Young of Norwood
Green (and Lord in Waiting)


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Wayne David MP


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ann McKechin MP

Parliamentary Secretary - Baroness Shriti Vadera (jointly with the
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)
Minister for the Olympics and Paymaster General - The Rt Hon Tessa
Jowell MP***


Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury) - Nick Brown
MP** (and Minister for the North East)

Deputy Chief Whip (Treasurer of HM Household) - Thomas McAvoy

Government Whip (Comptroller of HM Household) - John Spellar MP

Government Whip (Vice Chamberlain of HM Household) - Claire
Ward MP


Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Steve
McCabe MP

Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Frank Roy

Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - David
Watts MP

Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Tony
Cunningham MP

Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Bob
Blizzard MP


Assistant Government Whip - Diana Johnson MP

Assistant Government Whip - Mark Tami MP

Assistant Government Whip - Dawn Butler MP

Assistant Government Whip - Helen Goodman MP

Assistant Government Whip - Helen Jones MP

Assistant Government Whip - Ian Lucas MP

Assistant Government Whip - Ian Austin MP (and Minister for the
West Midlands)

Assistant Government Whip - Barbara Keeley MP*

Assistant Government Whip - Chris Moie MP*


Lords Chief Whip (Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at

Arms) - Lord Bassam of Brighton

Deputy Chief Whip (Captain of The Queen's Bodyguard of the
Yeomen of the Guard) - Lord Davies of Oldman


Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Thornton

Lord in Waiting - Lord Bach (and Parliamentary Under Secretary of
State Ministry of Justice*)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton*

Lord in Waiting - Lord Tunnicliffe

Lord in Waiting - Lord Young of Norwood Green (and Parliamentary
Under Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and

Lord in Waiting - Lord Patel of Bradford

Lord in Waiting - Lord Brett*
t paid as a Parliamentary Secretary
t unpaid Parliamentary Secretary
• unpaid

** attends Cabinet
*** attends Cabinet when Ministerial responsibilities are on the agenda
**** with responsibility for revenue protection at the border

Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime

Angela E Smith MP

Jon Trickett MP

Governmental Representatives

Malcolm Wicks MP - Special representative of the Prime Minister on
international energy issues working with the Secretary of State for

Energy and Climate Change:

Mark Lazarowicz MP - Special representative of the Prime Minister
on carbon trading working with the Secretary of State for Energy and
Climate Change.
The Rt Hon Jack McConnell MSP - Special representative for conflict
resolution mechanisms working with the Foreign Secretary and the
Secretaries of State for Internationa! Development and Defence

The Queen has accepted the following departures from Government.

At Minister of State level:

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP (temporarily leaving
Government on compassionate grounds of family illness and will
return to Government in the spring)

Dr Kim Howells MP

Lord Jones of Birmingham

The Rt Hon Lord Rooker

Malcolm Wicks MP

At Parliamentary Secretary level

Parmjit Dhanda MP

Tom Harris MP

Anne McGuire MP

Meg Munn MP

James Plaskitt MP

Derek Twigg MP

Government Whips:

Baroness Crawley

Liz Blackman MP

Alison Seabeck MP
Friday, October 03, 2008
  Results: Thursday 2nd October 2008.
Braintree DC, Witham West
Con 508 (40.9; +1.2)
Lab 373 (30.1; +3.2)
LD Joy Reekie 182 (14.7; -2.2)
Green 178 (14.3; -2.1)
Majority 135
Turnout 24%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Herefordshire UA, Leominster South
Ind 515 (41.4; +20.8)
Con 397 (31.9; -12.2)
Green 200 (16.1; -4.9)
LD Matthew Lane 131 (10.5; -3.7)
Majority 118
Turnout 28.1%
Ind gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007

Hillingdon LBC, West Ruislip
Con 1351 (52.4; +1.4)
LD Adrian Betts 860 (33.4; +2.3)
Lab 147 (5.7; -2.5)
BNP 111 (4.3; +4.3)
Green 55 (2.1; -7.5)
National Front Regain Control Of Britain 52 (2.0; +2.0)
Majority 491
Turnout 32.3%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2006

Lincolnshire CC, Bourne Abbey
Con 760 (41.4; -12.9)
Ind 355 (19.3; +19.3)
BNP 239 (13.0; +13.0)
Lab 202 (11.0; -34.7)
LD Peter Morris 198 (10.8; +10.8)
Green 42 (2.3; +2.3)
UKIP 41 (2.2; +2.2)
Majority 405
Turnout 21%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2005

Oswestry BC, Castle
LD Romer Hoseason 198 (38.7; +0.3)
Con 174 (34.1; -27.5)
Ind 139 (27.2; +27.2)
Majority 59
Turnout 23.9%
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007

Redcar and Cleveland UA, Kirkleatham
LD John Hannon 1031 (56.4; +25.5)
Lab 486 (26.6; -15.9)
Con 204 (11.2; -15.5)
BNP 106 (5.8; +5.8)
Majority 545
Turnout 36.8%
LD gain from Lab
Percentage change is since May 2007

Swale BC, Teynham and Lynsted
Con 463 (63.4; +3.3)
Lab 189 (25.9; -1.7)
LD Brenda Hammond 78 (10.7; -1.6)
Majority 274
Turnout 17.6%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Taunton Deane BC, Ruishton and Creech
Con 902 (56.3; +6.8)
LD Cilla Owen 700 (43.7; +3.2)
[Green (0.0; -10.0)]
Majority 202
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Witham TC, Witham West
Con 474 (38.7)
Lab 343 (28.0)
Green 206 (16.8)
LD Joy Reekie 185 (15.1)
Ind 18 (1.5)
Majority 131
Turnout 24.0%
Con hold

Further result from Thursday 25th September 2008.

Truro City Council, Boscawen LD Joe Taylor 612 (48.6)Con 388 (30.8)Mebyon Kernow 151 (12.0)Lab 107 (8.5)Majority 224Turnout 27.5%LD gain from Mebyon Kernow
  Winter Outlook 2008/9
There is an important long term aspect of the Grid's Winter Outlook viz:

144. In terms of the outlook for 2008/09, with a relatively low level of wind generation in
the overall generation mix, it is not yet critical to meeting demand even in our 1 in 20
demand levels scenario that we require a significant output from wind. Demand can still
be met by other sources of generation and/or imports through the interconnector in the
event of no wind generation output at the time of peak demand. Our work over the
summer has though led us to conclude that there are challenges that we will face as GB
system operator where wind generation is a large proportion of the generation fleet and
that controllable flexible sources of generation or demand management need to be
developed in parallel with a significant expansion of the wind generation capacity. We are
already contributing to further investigation and identifying potential solutions to these
issues through our engagement with the energy industry and government.

  RK and AK v The United Kingdom
The link is to this case on Bailli. When I first saw the headline I thought it related to an Oldham case of medical misdiagnosis where the rules of court prevented the parents from obtaining a second opinion without permission - a real contravention of a fair trial that is systematic in the Family Division.

It, however, refers to the question of having an effective remedy. This issue is not resolved by the 1998 Human Rights Act. It does raise the issue about the masses of cases involving errors by experts that the UK is now clearly liable.

The summary from the European Court's Website is as follows:
R.K. and A.K. v. the United Kingdom (38000/05)
The applicants, R.K., and his wife, A.K., are British nationals who were born in 1972 and 1976, respectively. They live in Oldham (United Kingdom). They have a daughter, M., who was born in July 1998.

In September 1998 M. was taken to hospital with a fractured femur; doctors concluded that the injury had not been accidental and she was placed in the care of her aunt. Following another injury, M. was diagnosed with brittle bone disease. She was returned home in April 1999. The case concerned the applicants’ complaint that their daughter was placed temporarily in care due to a medical misdiagnosis. They relied on Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 13 (right to an effective remedy).

It was not disputed that the interim care order had interfered with the applicants’ right to respect for their family life. That interference had been “in accordance with the law” and pursued the legitimate aim of protecting M.. Indeed, the authorities, medical and social, had a duty to protect children and could not be held liable every time genuine and reasonably-held concerns about the safety of children in their families were proved, retrospectively, to have been misguided. The Court considered that M., a three-month old baby, had suffered a serious and unexplained fracture and that the social or medical authorities could not be faulted for not immediately diagnosing brittle bone disease, a very rare and difficult condition to identify in small infants. Moreover, the baby had been placed within her extended family and in close proximity to her parents’ home so that they could frequently and easily visit. As soon as another fracture had occurred outside of the applicants’ care, further tests had been carried out and, within weeks, M. had been returned to her home. The Court was therefore satisfied that the domestic authorities had had relevant and sufficient reasons to take protective measures, which had been proportionate in the circumstances and had given due and timely account to the applicants’ interests. Accordingly, the Court held unanimously that there had been no violation of Article 8.

However, the Court found that the applicants should have had available to them a means to claim that the local authority’s handling of procedures had been responsible for any damage they had suffered and to claim compensation. As such redress had not been available at the relevant time, the Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 13 and awarded the applicants, jointly, EUR 10,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 18,000 for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in English.)

It does, of course, raise serious questions about the proportionality of other cases.

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

12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 / 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 / 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 / 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 / 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 / 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 / 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 / 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 / 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 / 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 / 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 / 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 / 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 / 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 / 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 / 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 / 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 / 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 / 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 / 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 / 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 / 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 / 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 / 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 / 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 / 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 / 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 / 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 / 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 / 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 / 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 / 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 / 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 / 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 / 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 / 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 / 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 / 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 / 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 / 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 / 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 / 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 / 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 / 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 / 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 / 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 / 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 / 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 / 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 / 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 / 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 / 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 / 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 / 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 / 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 / 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 / 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 / 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 / 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 / 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 / 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 / 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 / 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 / 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 / 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016 / 09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016 / 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016 / 11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016 / 03/01/2017 - 04/01/2017 / 04/01/2017 - 05/01/2017 /

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Published, promoted, and printed (well not really printed I suppose, more like typed) by John Hemming, 1772 Coventry Road, Birmingham B26 1PB. Hosted by part of 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, United States of America. This blog is posted by John Hemming in his personal capacity as an individual.

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