Saturday, July 31, 2010

Message from David Cameron

Dear Richard,

Parliament has risen, summer is here and this coalition government is nearly at the three month mark. It's a good time to take stock of what we've done so far and where we're going. Eleven weeks in and I believe we've made a good start.

We said we'd take the tough decisions needed to rescue our economy and we've been doing that. We've scrapped Labour's jobs tax, completed an in-year spending review to save £6 billion of waste and presented an emergency Budget that will balance the books within five years.

We promised radical reform of our public services and we're delivering, with a big expansion of the academy programme in our schools and unprecedented reform of the NHS - £1 billion of bureaucracy cut, pointless targets scrapped, whole tiers of bureaucracy abolished and real power for GPs and patients.

We campaigned relentlessly on pushing power out from the centre and we're making it happen. Eric Pickles' department has been busy dismantling the architecture of top-down control, scrapping Regional Assemblies, Regional Strategies and the bureaucracy of RDAs.

We said we'd do the right thing by our troops and we've been doing that too. We have established a National Security Council, made sure we have a clear strategy on Afghanistan and doubled the Operational Allowance for our Forces.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does show our intent to hit the ground running as a great reforming government. And just as we've started, so we'll go on - taking the tough decisions on our economy, radically re-thinking our public services, pushing power out to people and doing all we can to restore Britain's standing in the world.

But however frenetic the coming months and years will be, however busy life in government is, I will never forget how we got here - through your hard work and your tireless campaigning.

Thank you for your continuing support - and have a great summer.

David Cameron

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More than a Holding Page

Concerned readers have contacted me about the local Tory Association’s website being down and the promise that, “This website is under reconstruction and will be functional again soon."

I hope it will be too.

However, thank you for reading this blog and don’t forget in the meantime that the Cambridge Association’s Coleridge branch has both a website and a very active blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rubber Plant in 'White Elephant' Transport Row

Cambridge's MP has declared the Guided Bus to be a 'White Elephant' and once again attacked plans to upgrade the notorious A14 motorway.

In any other part of the UK, the Lib Dems would be whining for more public transport. Here, they complain that it is the wrong kind of public transport.

I agree with Councillor Roy Pegram (who supported the Lib Dem/Labour nonsense of a Cambridge Congestion charge) that in this case, “The busway will help reduce the number of cars needing to drive into the city centre, which is exactly what Mr Huppert wants.”

For those with long memories, the reason that many councillors voted for the Guided Bus was because the Labour government said that unless they did so there would be no upgrading of the A14.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cuba Needs Democracy, Not Lib Dem "solidarity"

The local Lib Dems have shown their support for the communist-front Cuba Solidarity group. Like the 'useful idiots' of Lennism they miss the basic point about the US sanctions - Cuba is a dictatorship. If the Cubans could have a free vote for political parties of their choice then the blockade would be lifted. "Simples."

My former organisation, the International Democrat Union, welcomed the latest international pressure on the Cuban regime...

Earlier this month the Castro regime, after mediation by the Catholic Church, announced that it would release 52 political prisoners and “allow them” to leave the island. This is a remarkable u-turn by the regime, since Cuba so far denied having any political prisoners at all.

The release and exile of political prisoners didn’t happen because the Castro regime decided to soften its stance. In particular since the untimely death in February of hunger striking political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, Cuba has come under intense and unprecedented international scrutiny. A recent hunger strike by Guillermo Farinas – for the more humane treatment and immediate release of the most ill political prisoners – increased the pressure on the regime after he was hospitalized in critical condition.

It is of course a positive that a number of political prisoners, jailed under extreme and inhumane conditions, are no longer incarcerated. However, it seems that they were in reality only given the choice between remaining in prison or leaving Cuba. Officially the regime says that the exiled prisoners are free to return, but since the jail sentences are not lifted this not a real choice.

Farnborough 2010

A fun day was had too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Can the Cabinet System

The governance of local government may seem an arcane subject, but the news that the central government will allow local authorities to scrap the cabinet system and reintroduce the committee-based one is good news. Local councillors get a greater say under the committee system and it forces the council leadership to argue through policies from an early stage rather than foisting them from the centre (often at the bidding of their officers).

I hope the county and city councillors will have the gumption to go back to a system of accountability.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time for a 'Tea Party' Over Residents’ Parking?

Oh, what a surprise. When a public body introduces a charge and tells you that there are ‘no plans’ to increase it or it is designed to be ‘revenue neutral’ – Run!

The taxes to be levied on the American colonies in the 1760’s were minimal but the inhabitants of British North America knew that if they allowed Whitehall to introduce them at all then it would be the thin edge of a financially heavy wedge. The Americans had a 'tea party' in Boston as part of the protest. Maybe some residents here should check their tea caddies for future use?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Councillor - Safer Without a Helmet

When local residents returned this councillor to the Guildhall, they probably did it for a reason supposedly given by soldiers for following one particular officer into battle: ‘out of curiosity’.

What on earth could he do next?

Today, we know.

See here for the latest.

(Photo of the councillor with a bike, without a helmet and on the train...)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Try Tory Historian

Try Tory Historian... I liked this one in particular.

The Economist on banking legislation

Tory Historian was intrigued to find this quotation from the Economist of May 3, 1845 on the subject of Sir Robert Peel's Bank Charter Act:

It is because we feel strongly that the interference of Parliament, under the pretext of supplying prudence, and regulating the interests and responsibilities of commerce in any way, has always proved a serious failure, and a miserable substitution for that individual caution which it is so well calculated to supplant, that we feel bound to oppose such legislation generally. And particularly so in the present instance, because we believe that the means proposed are calculated to have an opposite tendency: to endanger more the solvency of banks, and very materially and unnecessarily to aggravate the evils arising from commercial revulsions and adverse exchanges, to which a great commercial country must ever be less or more subject.

Tory Historian cannot help wondering whether such words could appear in any media outlet today.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Cambridge Tory

Congratulations to Nick and Lara on the birth of their baby boy !

Cambridge MP's Sweatshop Staff...

Of course, the Lib Dem International Office was not alone...

Constituency casework intern
Posted: 09 May 10

working for Julian Huppert MP (Cambridge)
salary: None, but some expenses will be paid

Not Even the Minimum Wage…

The Lib Dems' piety on pay was on parade during this year’s General Election.

However, the advertisement for an unpaid intern for the Lib Dem International Office does raise an eyebrow or two…

Assistant (Internship)
Posted: 15 July 10
Working for The International Office (Liberal Democrats)
salary: None

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Sound of Freedom

The Cambridge News has a video of a Hercules practicing its air show routine. The reactions on the blog are mixed with some condemning it as reckless while others welcome the chance to see something quite amazing.

Put me in the latter camp.

The presence of an airfield in Cambridge should not come as surprise. The airport predates most of the city’s housing and certainly people who have bought or rented homes since 1938 ought to have known that planes go in and out of an airport.

I grew up in rural Huntingdonshire – where John Major apparently re-located most of the RAF – and enjoyed watching the planes from the local bases. True, they made a noise… and it was the sound of those who serve our country. It was the sound of freedom.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back in Blighty

A rather jet-lagged family has returned home from a holiday in the USA. Not much news about the UK over there... except the Queen's visit to New York and the national pastime of guessing the date and subjects of the next royal wedding.

Something I was not expecting to write: "Many thanks to British Airways for seating us in the bulkhead seats in economy class, with the children's cots, and very helpful staff in both directions."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Local Labour

The local Labour party must think I am a swing voter because they have delivered the same leaflet to my house twice. The other possibility is that they have someone new or from outside the area and therefore could not work out if I lived in Perne road or Birdwood.

The good thing about the leaflet was that it contained geniune local content. This contrasts with the Lib Dems round here who think if they slap a "Coleridge" to their generic city-wide puff pieces that counts as local.

The bad was the layout of the leaflet. Too much close-typed stuff ready to make you cross-eyed unless you were a Labour loyalist or political geek (I'm counting myself in the latter group).

The ugly was the section accusing local Tories of badmouthing Labour councillors for not working. Andrew Bower has a very good response here. Mine is to point out the one Tory on the city council has punched well above his weight, swinging away against waste and inertia, and this has put the frightners into his fellow councillors. Good. Competition works.