Sunday, November 28, 2010

Too many Twitters makes a T...

Twitter war has broken out again, with our new local Coleridge councillor in the thick of it. See here for the Quisling correspondence. This follows on from another rather silly tweet about current search and rescue pilots who happen to be a member of the Royal family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The country mouse is healthier…

I moved from a sleepy, country village in Huntingdonshire to the big city of Cambridge

My old doctors’ surgery is open all day.

I am still amazed that the nearest one to me shuts for lunch and has a booking system seemingly based on the ‘fastest finger’ round from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Campaign for Real Ale...

CAMRA Message today...

"Lobby your local MPs in support of the CAMRA backed Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill (England).

We need you to write to your MP, asking them support the CAMRA backed Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill (England).

Every year a small number of MPs are drawn from a ballot and are able to introduce a Bill on an issue of their choosing. This year CAMRA persuaded Nigel Adams MP to take up a vitally important Bill to reform the planning system. This is a once in a generation opportunity to radically change planning law.

The Bill would give local councils the power to ensure that services (and particularly community pubs) are not demolished or changed into other uses such as a betting shop or supermarket chain store without following the proper planning process.

The best way to get MPs' support for the Bill is for their constituents (that's you!) to contact them. The more constituents ask an MP to support it, the more likely they are to do so. We need your MP to feel pressure from their constituents in order to understand how important pubs and local services are to their community, and show their support for these vital reforms."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unworthy Successor

The successor to Chris Howell on the city council has attracted Chris's wrath in this posting. Sometimes politics is tribal, but in this case the councillor has launched a foam-flecked attack on the royal wedding announcement with the, 'inbred aristos who've never done a days work in their life'.

I am sure he'll be explaining his view of helicopter rescue pilots for quite a while.

Quis Separabit and "Up the Micks!"

Why bail out Irish politicians when it's the Irish Guards that need support?

The Irish Guards Appeal

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quiz Night - Town V Gown

Fun quiz ahead on 26th November... see here for details.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Twitter Feud

A twitter feud between Kirstie Allsop and Lord Sugar.

It was ungallant of Lord S to tell Kirstie to lose some weight, but it is simply impossible for Lord S to gain in stature...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Labour and Congestion Charging… Whining and Wrong

This article is worth ‘Fisking’:

Let me give you the facts: congestion charging in Cambridge was dreamt up by the Conservatives and the Conservative-run county council.

No, the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), which tied road improvements to congestion charging, was dreamt up by the Labour government. I agree that the county councillors then took it up, led by the nose by ambitious officers, but it would not have happened without Blair or Brown.

I have always been very clear in my opposition to it.

No. You voted for its introduction. Here is the link where the vote is recorded in the County Council minutes. Seven councillors voted against proceeding with the TIF bid. You were not one of them.

If all the extra investment in public transport failed to stop congestion hitting the trigger and if the public supported it, then the Tory County Council would introduce congestion charging but not until 2017 at the earliest.

There was no mention of public support being part of the trigger mechanism to start congestion charging. This was a point that I made at the time.

The justification given by many councillors for supporting the TIF process was along the lines, ‘we had to go along with the TIF bid because we might have got some money out of it for pet projects and, speak softly, we would have tried to renege on charging at a future date.’

This is why people are wary, rightly, of politicians of all parties.

I am proud that the City Conservatives never indulged in this kind of approach to the TIF bid. We said we were against it and every candidate we fielded would have voted against it at the first opportunity. This cannot be said for the local Labour party whose representives talked tough about TIF but when it came to the vote, voted for it to go ahead.

The voters can see through efforts to twist the truth

I hope so.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jailed Voters for Julian Group

I hope this is a wind-up, but it looks like our MP really does think that people who have broken the law should play a role in selecting those who make the law.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Election Result...

Quite a leap of faith for some...

Coleridge - 4th November

George Owers, Labour, 900 (44%)
Andrew Bower, Conservative, 734 (36%)
Sarah Barnes, Lib Dem, 223 (11%)
Valerie Hopkins, Green Party, 137 (7%)
Albert Watts, UKIP, 53 (3%)

and we'll see local Labour at the polls in May...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Voting in Coleridge

Today's decision day for the Coleridge by-election. As an early-bird helper I spotted both Labour and Lib Dems on the streets trying to rouse their voters and get them to the polling stations.

When this seat came up last time it was decided by 14 votes. This time, make sure one of them is yours.

Beware this Credit Card Scam

Courtesy of the police comes notice of a credit card’s very convincing.

"This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank) did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London ?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works the caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card." He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers." There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say, "No," the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up you actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number .

What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them . Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

Please pass this on to all your family and friends.. By informing each other, we protect each other..."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coleridge By-Election this Thursday

Looking at the parties....

Conservative. The City Conservative site has a summary of the Bower campaign, with its key themes.

Labour. The party holding the other seats in the ward chose a very controversial young student who lives somewhere in the centre of town. Odd. If I were picking a candidate to take on the local Tory campaigner Andy Bower it would not be a student on short course but an established resident with decent community work credentials.

Lib Dems. Their candidate is one step closer to credibility by living in the ward but, like Labour, remarkably little commitment shown earlier and - by trailing in a poor third place the last time this seat was contested - suffering a different kind a credibility gap. It could be that their outdoor poster campaign is being vandalised, like the Tory one, but we should have been festooned with orange by now. Looks like their B-team are doing this one.

UKIP. Even further down the pointless vote section than the Lib Dem. This is a local election so being UKIP is about as useful as being 'Forward to Mars'. If you doubt this then visit Ramsey where a UKIP'er is in place and whose effectiveness can be judged in inverse proportion to his press coverage.

Green. It's Cambridge, so there is always one of these. Abbey ward has a good helping of them. Polite and honourable campaigners but quite bonkers when it comes to anything to do with the economy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Vandals

We had vandals in the General Election and they're back for the by-election. I said before that most vandalism is likely to be done by yobs on the way back home. However, I think that the way it was done this time - crossing onto private property rather than reaching over a fence - requires more time, effort (and co-ordination) than your average drunk loon can muster.

The Labour signs are still up.

So who's the nasty party now?