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Showing posts from March, 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.

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

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.

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

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 f

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).

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.

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.

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 Barones

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

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 Lo

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. Tur

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.

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.

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.

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 fa