Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parking Controls for the City

This letter made it from post to publication in the Cambridge News in a week...

23rd. June 2010

Dear Sir,

I have recently read through County Council papers on parking contrlols in Cambridge. I had to do this because the area in which I have the pleasure to live is threatened with parking controls.

There were some proposals that I did not like.

There is a suggestion that ward councillors should set the areas for parking controls, aided by an informal subcommittee presumably selected from people who would agree with them. That doesn't feel very democratic.

There is a suggestion that controlled parking fees should be increased to make a profit for the County Council. This breaks a promise made when these controls were introduced that charges were made only to defray administrative costs.

And, finally, there is the suggestion that parking controls should be introduced in other towns in Cambridgeshire to "equalise conditions".

Readers may wish to contact their County Councillor.

Yours sincerely,

James Strachan

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Other A14 Campaign

Now that the future of A14 is up for grabs the opponents of upgrading it are preparing their ground. Here's the site for your information.

There was a letter in the Cambridge News from the organiser praising every measure for reducing congestion except building new roads. The praise for the Variable Mandatory Speed Limits (VMSL)on the M25 on his website is interesting because of what is missed out. The biggest response to tackling congestion on the M25 is a £6.2 billion PFI project which includes... roll of drums... ROAD WIDENING.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adam Smith Speaks on Saturday...

The Coleridge Conservative Branch invites supporters to a barbecue this Saturday at which the President of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Madsen Pirie, will be speaking on "The Coalition: Promises and Pitfalls."

The barbecue and garden party will be held between 4.30pm and 7.30pm at the Cherry Hinton Constitutional Club, 144 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge on Saturday 26 June. Entry is £10 (including first drink) and will go towards Conservative campaigning.

If you would like to come please let Andrew Bower know on 07876 03183.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cambridgeshire Quango Under Fire

As readers of this blog can guess, I am not a fan of the county council’s transport officers or the uncritical acceptance of the ‘growth agenda’ and the quango it spawned.

I am not alone… In his excellent blog Mark Wadsworth adds Cambridgeshire Horizons to his bonfire of the quangos and gets a pot-shot in at the county’s badly-led and dysfunctional transportation department (if only the officers had spent half the time on the boring but necessary campaign for the A14, or watching what BAM Nuttall was up to on the Guided Busway - and not chasing the fairy gold of Labour’s Transport Innovation Fund…).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freedom is Indivisible.

I met Temba Nolutshungu when I was helping to set up the Democrat Union of Africa.

This is a forceful essay on the kind of post-apartheid state he wants South Africa to become. As he says, “Affirmative action is politically unnecessary, economically irrational and morally unjust...I truly believe that liberty is indivisible, if some of us do not have liberty, none of us have liberty.”
I hope my South African ancestor, Dorothea, would agree too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

12 Days from Posting to Publication

From today's Cambridge News...

9th. June 2010

Dear Sir,

You report today (9th. June) that a "communication chief" has been hired by Suffolk County council at a pay rate of £182,000 a year. A salary that is higher than that of the Prime Minister. What does a communication chief do that a ward letter from a local councillor cannot ?

And, on the same day, Andrew Lansley reports that NHS nurses may spend only one third of their time actually attending to patients. The rest is spent on paperwork or on working shifts in which patients are asleep.

These are both symbols of the Empire of Waste - and of inefficiency - within our public services.

We must have change, and this new Government will, step by step, bring that change.

Yours sincerely,

James Strachan

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exit A14?

Ouch. Not good news.

Exit Regional Assemblies

Good news about the return of powers to councils from the 'regional' assemblies. Don't cry for the quango queens losing their pocket money or cowardly councillors who used the regions as bombshelters from angry voters or a means to avoid taking decisions in their own patches.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Parking Campaign

The "parent and child - recycling" sign at Sainsbury's is always worth a chuckle. The abuse of the parking spaces is not.

I had both children in the back of my car and followed the one pictured here as it made its way past the disabled spots (all taken) to the closest 'parent and child' place. A lady got out but no children followed. There wasn't even a child's car seat in the back. I asked why she did it - in case there was some kind of emergency - but got no justification. How selfish.
"Shame on you, madam."

I suppose it was a good thing that there were no vacancies in the disabled section...

Banking the Laws of Unintendend Consequences

"Bloomberg reports that Sharon Bowles, chairwoman of the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said Tuesday that banker bonuses should be capped at 50% of their salary, and the proposals to limit bonuses will face an EU Parliament vote in July.

One banker told Here Is The City: 'It just shows how far these lawmaking types are from understanding the real causes of the financial crisis and how their ill-thought-out ideas will work in practice. I think everyone understands the need to align compensation with long term performance, but limiting bonuses to a percentage of base pay will only see salaries increase again - and in some cases they will go up substantially. This is a classic case of the Law of Unintended Consequences - bankers will receive so much of their compensation in fixed pay, that they will have no incentive to perform and no incentive to limit their risk-taking either, as their own downside will be protected'.

And Ms Bowles' reaction to complaints from bankers about the bonus restriction suggestions ? - 'If bankers and traders want to leave and go to other jurisdictions.....I say good riddance'. But Ms Bowles, they won't be shipping out - they will be forming a queue to get in to the EU zone. 'Frankly', another senior trader told us, 'I like this idea. We all know that huge bonuses are a thing of the past (at least for a while), so the thought of a base salary of a few million is really quite appealing. You have to love those daft brushes over at the EU!'. "

Friday, June 11, 2010

Good Luck England...

and hope to avoid the collapse of national self esteem following a 1 - 1 draw or, heaven forbid, the 'rebel colonies' find the back of the net more often...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Better Homes and Gardens

The government is set to allow local authorities to reverse Prescott's Garden Grabbing agenda. Good. But how will our own local authority respond, when you consider the Lib Dem's love of Stalingrad Housing?

Coleridge Branch BBQ

Saturday, 26 June 2010
16:30 - 19:30
Cherry Hinton Constitutional Club, 144 Cherry Hinton Road

Come and kick-start a fresh season of Conservative campaigning in Coleridge! All are welcome.

Barbecue served from 5 pm - £10

If wet, the party will take place inside.

Email me if you are interested: cityconservative AT

Monday, June 7, 2010

Disabled Car Parking Campaign

The Cambridge Cycle campaign recently published photos of cars ignoring cycle lanes.

My peeve is the abuse of the handicapped parking spaces by boorish motorists. While we can argue that the government's planning guidelines put too many spaces in place as a proportion of the driving population, there is not much point in having them at all unless someone makes sure that they are not abused.

For starters, here's one car that did not look like it had a blue badge up for inspection....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All Ahead for the A14

Good news for the A14 campaigners. The timetable for upgrading is intact. Odd to think that the local Lib Dems oppose this... but I'm glad the government's made the right decision here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Let Them Jog?

The City Council has as a policy of not putting enough parking spaces into new developments. This is supposed to encourage car drivers to use other forms of transport like busses and cycles.

The news that Network Rail has 800 spaces for the 1000 cyclists that use the station is intriguing. Presumably it won’t put them back in their cars, but will it encourage jogging?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Czech Mate for the Left

“Rarely has the term “political earthquake” been more appropriate than for describing last weekend’s Czech parliamentary election. The two major parties, IDU-member party ODS and the Social democrats, previously scoring more than two thirds of the vote, in the election won the combined strength of just above 42%; ODS at 20.2% (53 seats) and the Socialists at 22.1% (56 seats). Both the Christian Democrats and the Greens failed to win any seats in Parliament at all.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Flotilla...

Of course it was going to end badly.

"Martyrdom, sir, is what these people like. It is the only way a man can become famous without ability."

General 'Gentleman Johnny' Burgoyne in The Devil's Disciple
GB Shaw