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Showing posts from January, 2009

Results: Thursday 29th January 2009.

Hackney LBC, Stoke Newington Central Lab 1162 (47.8; +2.5) Green 783 (32.2; +3.3) LD Karelia Scott-Daniels 297 (12.2; -4.6) Con 169 (7.0; -2.0) Direct Democracy 20 (0.8; +0.8) Majority 379 Turnout 38.0 Lab hold Percentage change is since May 2006 Manchester City MBC, Didsbury West LD Lianne Williams 1439 (55.6; +8.4) Lab 638 (24.7; +1.8) Con 336 (13.0; -3.6) Green 173 (6.7; -3.7) [UKIP (0.0; -3.0)] Majority 801 Turnout 26.1% LD hold Percentage change is since May 2008 Newcastle City, Fenham LD Mitzi Emery 1049 (33.9; -11.8) Lab 1025 (33.1; -3.3) BNP 836 (27.0; +18.0) Con 186 (6.0; -2.9) Majority 24 Turnout 39.6% LD gain from Lab Percentage change is since May 2007 Redbridge LBC, Valentines LD Shoaib Patel 963 (36.9; +20.1) Con 781 (29.9; +10.4) Lab 756 (28.9; -0.3) Respect 112 (4.3; +4.3) [British Public Party (0.0; -3.5)] [Green (0.0; -9.8)] [Ind (0.0; -21.2)] Majority 182 Turnout 29.7% LD gain from Lab Percentage change is since May 2006 Bury St Edmunds TC LD Allan Jones 246 (45.2) C

Regulatory Reform and Small Licence Changes

One thing that demonstrates how the Regulatory Reform Committee can improve proposals is the proposal from the government to have minor changes to licence conditions that don't go through the whole process. The difficulty is that this could mean that local residents don't know of minor changes that are proposed to licenses. We have, therefore, suggested that two notices are placed outside the premises (for two weeks) to make sure that this doesn't happen without people knowing about it.

Results: Thursday 22nd January 2009.

Bexley LBC, East Wickham Con 798 (26.8; -5.2) BNP 790 (26.5; +12.4) Lab 700 (23.5; +1.5) LD Elizabeth Grace Goodlad 564 (18.9; +2.9) English Democrats 128 (4.3; -4.9) [UKIP (0.0; -6.8)] Majority 8 Turnout 36.9% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2006. Mid Sussex DC, Bentswood LD Irene Balls 514 (36.9; +1.4) Lab 456 (32.7; -2.6) Con 332 (23.8; -5.4) BNP 92 (6.6; +6.6) Majority 58 Turnout 34.3% LD hold Percentage change is since May 2007. Northampton BC, New Duston Con 1072 (53.0; +9.7) Lab 322 (15.9; -1.3) Ind 320 (15.8; -3.8) LD Marion Allen-Minney 307 (15.2; +7.0) [Christian Peoples Alliance (0.0; -1.2)] [SOS! Voters Against Over Development of Northampton (0.0; -10.6)] Majority 750 Turnout 32.2% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2007. Knaresborough TC, Knaresborough East Con 325 (33.7) Ind 297 (30.8) LD Sue Vasey 295 (30.6) Lab 46 (4.8) Majority 28 Turnout 24% Con gain from LD St Annes on the Sea TC, Fairhaven LD Bob Fielding 239 (45.4) Ind 107 (20.3) Common Sense Independ

Music Copyright and Performers

I have linked to Dominic McGonigal's web log about copyright terms. When it comes, for example, to a video with music there are normally three copyrights. There is an original copyright in the music (the dots) which exists whoever plays the music. Then there is a copyright in the musical recording which exists for the performers. Then there is a visual copyright in the video itself. These different copyrights have different terms. That in music lasts beyond the death of the writer of the music. The performance one, however, only lasts for 50 years after the performance. Dominic works for the Performers Protection organisation (PPL) who handle the music performance copyright and video performance copyright in the UK. They and people such as Cliff Richard are campaigning for a copyright extension.

Habitual Residence, The Hague Conventions and Public Family Law

With the number of people going abroad to escape the family courts it strikes me it is useful to talk about which courts have jurisdiction. There are two important phrases which apply to determine which court has the power to make a decision. One is "ordinarily resident" and the other is "habitually resident". When someone is "habitually resident" in England then the local authority in which that person is "ordinarily resident" is responsible for care proceedings. That means that if someone goes to Cornwall on holiday from Birmingham, Birmingham retains responsibility. If someone is abroad on holiday then they are habitually resident in England, but if they go abroad with the objective of staying there then they become habitually resident abroad. There is a complex question as to when they become habitually resident abroad. The first point is that the English courts consider that if care proceedings have been issued and served then skipping t

Fire Station joy for Yardley

I am pleased to be able to say that the proposals to close Hay Mills and Sheldon Fire Stations have been dropped. Local residents, all the local councillors, the Trades Unions any myself all opposed these proposals. It is nice to see the Fire Authority listening to our concerns. In the long term the Audit Commission wish to reduce the fire service nationally. We need to remain vigilant against these proposals.

Results: Thursday 15th January 2009.

Forest of Dean DC, Newent Central Con 306 (49.2; +6.5) No Description 166 (26.7; -13.5) Lab 96 (15.4; -1.7) No Description 54 (8.7; +8.7) Majority 140 Turnout 22% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2007 Haringey LBC, Seven Sisters Lab 1032 (37.1; -9.3) Con 968 (34.8; +7.0) LD David Schmitz 581 (20.9; +8.1) Green 166 (6.0; -7.1) Ind 36 (1.3; +1.3) Majority 64 Turnout 31.1% Lab hold Percentage change is since May 2006 Bishop's Stortford TC, Silver Leys Con 653 (70.3) LD Mat Harris 194 (20.9) Lab 82 (8.8) Majority 459 Turnout 22.7% Con hold

Credit Crunch and Cars

When I asked in the House of Commons about the availability of purchase financing credit I didn't get a response, but there appears to be a positive one in the newspapers today. This has, however, been an identified issue for over a month. Similarly the issue of a UK version of Chapter 11 needs further consideration. There was a letter in The Times today about thia (as well as my letter about second opinions ).

Debate moves up a couple of notches

I have been pleased with two stories about experts in The Times and the S31 (2) threshold in The Telegraph . These go to the nub of why so many odd decisions are made by the Family Courts. They are written without reference to some of the really odd cases. The issue about parents not being allowed a second opinion is being looked at by the European Court at the moment. That of the vagueness of "risk of significant harm" and the almost random way in which it is being interpreted is key within the Telegraph editorial. I am pleased that the Sunday Telegraph recognise that this is in part why England is so bad at protecting children. There is no doubt that those two bad practices are connected. The resources of social work departments are, as directors of those departments frequently point out, strictly limited. Time spent investigating parents who do not threaten or endanger the children in their care is time not spent investigating, visiting or intervening in the cases whe

Results: Thursday 8th January 2009.

Enfield LBC, Bush Hill Park Con 1320 (63.4; +25.4) Lab 413 (19.8; +6.7) LD Paul Smith 129 (6.2; -3.0) UKIP 123 (5.9; +0.9) Green 97 (4.7; -5.5) [Save Chase Farm (0.0; -24.4)] Majority 907 Turnout 20.5% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2006. Hull City UA, Drypool LD Linda Chambers 1306 (52.3; -11.6) Lab 891 (35.7; +7.9) National Front 184 (7.4; +7.4) Con 117 (4.7; -3.7) Majority 415 Turnout 26.7% LD hold (Andy Sloan was elected LD in 2006 but subsequently defected to Conservatives and later resigned.) Percentage change is since May 2008. Further result from 18th December 2008. East Northamptonshire DC, Thrapston Lakes Con 475 (63.0; +3.5) Lab 168 (22.3; +22.3) UKIP 111 (14.7; -25.8) Majority 307 Turnout 22.4% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2007.

Gaza, Geneva Convention 1949 and War Crimes - reference to International Criminal Court

It appears that the lessons learnt at the end of the 1800s with the Hague Conventions and the 1949 Geneva Conventions have been forgotten in Gaza. Much that the rockets should not have been fired on Israel, Israel's actions in Gaza in that they are resulting in the unnecessary deaths of non-combatants are in clear contravention of the 1949 Geneva Convention. Those firing rockets were also in contravention. To that extent, therefore, I will be working with Councillor Ayoub Khan (a barrister) to produce a reference to the International Criminal Court to have this particular conflict investigated. We will need to have one of the 108 signatories to the ICC make the formal reference. We will start by asking the UK to make this reference, but if the UK refuses we will look for another.

John Hemming's new year message

Its that time of year again. Normally I don't comment much about local issues on my weblog as we issue leaflets to residents in Yardley. However, I will do this on this occasion (as I did last year). Casework and the office The last case reference of 2008 was 9836 the last of 2007 was 7763 (and 2006) 5597. This continues to run at about 2,000 cases. Casework is very important as not only can we resolve issues for people, but also I learn what is going wrong in the real world - as opposed to the Westminster bubble. What I have noticed is a number of strange decisions in DWP. For example the man who was only given temporary financial support for the loss of a leg. Someone on DWP was under pressure to hit a particular target and therefore made the absurd decision that his leg would grow back. This sort of case gets sorted, but I do worry about those people who don't get any support in dealing with such issues. I have also noticed that the "advice desert" issue se