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Saturday, 3 May 2008

More Socialist Action

Rooting out this cancer from the GLA is not just a Blimpish kneejerk reaction from old Radders, or vilification by Channel 4, or Gilligan's revenge in the Standard. They really are a pernicious lot. Back in the cold war days they would no doubt have been infiltrated by MI5.

Don't take my word for it; this analysis by the, er, Communist Party of GB says it all. In particular the ideological justification for 'empowering' the Muslim voice and hijacking the moderate left's political structures to give it prominence.


Leftards heart-wringing

Oh I do love a bit of shadenfreude. This bit of heart-wringing, from Brighton Regency Labour Supporter, is almost beyond parody:
This election is lost and along with it goes my hope of things improving in this country. Livingstone was my political hero and demonstration that Left politics can be good, efficient and electorally successful. That has now gone and along with it my interest in politics. I know I shouldn't be so downbeat - but it is how I feel at the moment. Livingstone was the best politician of his generation but in the end it wasn't enough to beat the Tory press lies. This is a sad day for democracy, how this country yearns for a free press and a press that tells the truth as a rule rather than as an exception.
How can this be a bad day for democracy, you mong? We've just had a fair election. You lost.

Boris' first 100 days

This is Livingstone's report on his first month in office after winning in 2004 - giving a flavour of the multitude of tasks and appointments to be made that Boris will have to face in the next 100 days.

I presume Boris won't be renewing the GLA's membership of the Association of Nuclear Free Local Authorities.

P45s for Socialist Action



Well Done Boris!

It seems Yougov called it correctly with their penultimate poll that suggested the Boris / Ken split would be 55 to 45 when second preference votes were added in. In the event it was 53.9% to 46.1% - close enough. There will be some worried faces at Ipsos MORI whose 23/24 April poll for Unison called it 52% for Ken and 48% for Boris.

Anyhow, we now have a Mayor who has a natural sense of humour. Over the years I've received much advice of the "Never trust ... " variety which includes dogs with orange eyebrows and men with thin lips, but more often than anything else includes "Never trust people with no sense of humour."

Ken, I have to say, isn't wholly humourless. Brown is. But Boris certainly isn't. And that's very good news for a city such as London.

Right, as soon as I kill this hangover and can see the screen straight, a day on the boat is called for.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Late night tonight

Now seems that the confirmation of the Mayoral results won't be in until 11 or later - past my usual bedtime, at any event. And with a bottle of the widow to chug.

Typical fucking Etonian. Always late.

The end of the GLC

There was a tale that at the end of the Clinton presidency in the US, the White House was stripped, even down to computer keyboard key-caps being taken. The same thing happened at County Hall on the abolition of the GLC; fixtures, fittings, even a marble fireplace were looted by the Comrades. Everything saleable or pawnable was stolen - a theft of taxpayer assets on a massive scale. The spitefulness towards Tory voters was palpable, as this contemporary Comrade's account reveals:
There were further concerts at Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank and elsewhere. Sometimes it was Billy Bragg supported by Hank Wangford and sometimes it was Hank Wangford supported by Billy Bragg. On the one occasion when they tried someone new, a concert by The Smiths was ruined by a group of skinheads climbing on the stage and Sieg Heil-ing to the crowd of lefties down below. That was about as constructive as the arguments against a London-wide authority got. On the night that the GLC was officially abolished thousands of pounds of fireworks lit up the sky. It was fantastic--if only all those Conservative voters in Bromley and Finchley could have seen how much of their money was being wasted! Then, on the stroke of midnight [ April 1, 1986 ] , workers from the London Residuary Body moved in and started ripping everything down, signs, placards, banners--anything with a GLC logo on it--while the crowd looked on and booed.
I'll bet the shredders are working at red-hot today in the glass testicle; equipment inventories are sure to be amongst the first things shredded. It would be fun to watch Livingstone's stooges this evening carrying out everything from laptops to water coolers. It would be even more fun if plod was there this time to stop them. Mind you, with Len Duvall with his weapons conviction as today's chairman of the MPA ......

John Redwood writes sense

John Redwood's election analysis neatly repeats what I and the cabbies have been saying. We're all fed up with all the nasty intrusive illiberal control freakery from this bunch of corrupt tossers, and have given them a savage kicking.

If Dave wants to learn a lesson quickly it's this. "I want us to really prove to people that we can make the changes that they want to see in terms of schools and hospitals and crime and the other issues that really matter to all of us" is fine as a piece of bland spin. But if Dave really wants to win hearts and minds he will have to dismantle all the hated illiberality from Labour's nasty nanny Big State - and that's a whole lot of little things.

I'll know he's succeeded when I can follow the local hunt to see a fox dispatched swiftly by hounds, then retire with friends to the smoking room of the local pub to enjoy a pitcher of mulled ale whilst respectful council workers gather the horse-nuts from the streets and ensure all the bins are clean and empty.

London Mayor - rejected ballot papers

With the count today for Mayor still on a knife-edge and every vote significant, it's instructive to look HERE at an analysis of spoilt papers at the last election in 2004.

The GLA seat with the most rejected papers was City and East, solid Labour, with 5% of the Mayor first choice votes rejected. The least rejected papers for Mayor first choice was in solid blue Bexley and Bromley with just 2.3%.

Papers can be rejected by the Returning Officer if the voter's intentions are unclear or the paper has been improperly marked. Personally, I find it incredible that one in fifty let alone one in twenty people are incapable of putting a cross in a box, but there you are.

Cabbies talk sense

I've said all along that yesterday would be the chance for an angry nation to give Labour a savage kicking rather than an endorsement of the Tories. Three Line Whip carries a piece that says the same:
An unusual perspective on tonight's events from the driver of my worse-for-wear taxi - he and his mates are all backing Boris, but David Cameron shouldn't take this as an endorsement, because they're still not convinced the Tories are up to the job.

For once I agree with a Labour MP

Popping over to the Guardian to enjoy the shadenfreude, I was pleased to see this piece on electoral and voter fraud.
The chairman of the committee, Tony Wright, called for an end to Labour silence on one source of the problem. "Almost all the abuse cases that we have had have involved minority communities. We should not be mealy-mouthed about it. It is importing cultural practices from one place to another, and if we are serious about Britishness, surely one of the things we have to got to be serious about it is telling everybody that lives here about the integrity of democratic politics."
Absolutely right, as I posted HERE a few days ago. This is something that those from every side of the political spectrum must unite to challenge.

Ooooh that must hurt!

After a full eight hours sleep I had the coffee brewing in the cafetiere as I switched the radio on at 6am, and within minutes was startling the cat with my Howard Kiel "There's a bright golden haze on the meadoooowww..."

Hahahahaha!! Zanu Labour on 24% and in third place! Oh, this is truly a frabjous day. The worst results for Labour for over 40 years, the commentators are reporting, but there's one big difference.

Forty years ago Labour had over a million members, and all the local party infrastructure in place to recover from such a wounding poll result. Today they have barely a tenth of that membership. Once they're out, once they've lost those seats, the decline is iterative. Now there's no way back. Without incumbent councillors, local party structures will shrivel and die.

Oh please, please, let the Great Wanking Fist cling on to power until May 2010 when London's 1,861 council seats are up for grabs and give us the chance to complete the process begun in 2006.

The champagne remains on chill in the fridge at the moment. Let's wait for this evening.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

And they're off!

When I voted at about 8.30 this morning, there was a queue! Even for the general election, I've never had to queue before at this time. I'll bet turnout for this one is going to be high. No black tin box for this election - all three ballot papers go together into a cardboard box with a little chute. I just hope the automated sorting / counting gear can cope .....

It's dry so far and the Sun is out, so the workers and older early-risers may be taking a good opportunity for a stroll down to the local primary school. No party workers from any side doing exit polls.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Who's got one of Ken's postcards?

The late report in the Times that Livingstone has sent postcards to a million Londoners in a last minute effort to sway the vote is causing some chuckles here at Raedwald Towers.

What with the post office closures and downsizing, and reliance on temporary and agency staff, I reckon about half will be delivered to the correct addresses on Saturday. The remainder will be popped through the right letterboxes when neighbours get back from the weekend on Monday and London does its regular weekly correction of the Post Office's numerical dyslexia.

Waste, Squander and Zanu Labour

Daniel Hannan's column in the Telegraph this morning hits the nail squarely on the head (despite the 'comment' link button being absent from the website today for some reason). Labour inherited a strong and sound economy at a time of unprecedented global economic growth. True vision and prudence could have secured deep, lasting and fundamental reform to our social and economic structure.

Instead, a decade with a vacuous wannabee in No 10 and a second-rate intellect in No 11 squandered an ocean of money on sterile and unproductive short-term political aims leaving us now where Labour always leave us - up Faeces Creek without a propelling tool.

Truly its now time to extinguish this grubby, incompetent little party for ever.

Polls and real results

Finkelstein comments in the Times this morning that opinion polls are a more accurate guide to the feelings of voters than tomorrow's election results will be. To a point, Lord Copper.

He's right of course that the way in which pollsters ask questions can skew results. The identity of the pollster on the other end of the phone may also skew the results; English politesse would tend to elicit an untruthful answer from a closet racist about BNP support if the question was framed by a friendly young Indian woman at the pollsters' call centre.

Pollsters also assume it's the big Issues of State that influence opinion. Crime, health, immigration, education; the polled are also often cowed into believing these ought to be the issues that sway them .

In practice there is little logic to the factors that put a cross in one box rather than another. A work colleague with whom I enjoyed a ciggie yesterday as we huddled in a light drizzle declared he would vote for Boris because of the smoking ban. And this is where I think Finkelstein has it completely wrong. The thirty seconds we all have in the polling booth from time to time are the only chance most of us have to protest. The incumbent government are perhaps the most illiberal in living memory; the hunting ban, the smoking ban, massive fuel taxes, stealth taxes, bin snoopers, nasty nanny, booze taxes and all the rest. There can hardly be an interest group in the country that Labour haven't given cause to want to kick back. And it's these little things that count.

So we should all be aware that tomorrow's results if they are as expected won't be as much of an endorsement of a Tory party policy - frankly, there isn't one - than a chance to kick out against £5 a gallon and standing in a soggy pub yard. And this is where the real results are always more accurate than the opinion polls.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Third World brings its voting frauds to London

Like many, I grew up on Sterling tales of the British sense of fair play and incorrupt direct democracy; more recently Trevor Royle's 'Winds of Change - End of Empire in Africa' described how British District Officers and colonial administrators diligently travelled tens of thousands of miles in ancient Landys to the remotest parts of the Empire to teach the ordinary people how to vote for independence. With absolute fairness, and blackboard and symbols, they expounded to the men of the villages (with the women listening discreetly in the background) exactly how to mark their cross if they wanted to vote for the British to go. Every man could only vote once, even the head-man or Chief. The votes would all be honestly counted, and the British would abide by the result.

By and large we left them with a constitution, a new flag, a bicameral parliament complete with speaker in horsehair wig and bands, and a vague hope that less than a century of contact with the British way of doing things was enough to have sunk in.

Recent widespread electoral frauds in the UK, largely involving postal and proxy voting, and the unspeakable and malodorous practices unveiled in tonight's Standard, are very sadly concentrated in immigrant populations. It seems our way of doing things, our tradition of fair play, haven't got through.

Let me say this. This is something we won't shift on by one millimetre. These primitive third-world standards of democracy that may apply in Dhaka or Lagos have no place in Britain. And that Livingstone condones or orchestrates such corrupt filth in an effort to cling to office makes him no better than Mugabe and makes Labour truly Zanu Labour.

Yes, our electoral systems need an overhaul. The probity and transparency of our democracy is something every person, from left or right, should fight for.

Skip antics

The chap a few doors down had a skip in over the weekend. Overnight someone dumped two carriers of what I suppose must be called 'gay interest' magazines on top, which have been spread about by passing skip-divers and are clear for all to see.

The bloke was out three times before 8am, clearly racked with indecision as he peered at the oiled hunks and their improbably large endowments. He wasn't that keen to touch them, so abandoned any thoughts of re-packing them. On my way to the station I noticed his blinds were drawn.

What would I have done? Oh, repacked them into a bin bag, taped a 'free gay mags' sign to it and left it outside the church.

I've never enjoyed an election so much

It's strange, I can't wait to cast my votes on Thursday. My ballot card is pinned ready on the notice board and I'm eager for the off. I can't recall when I've ever enjoyed an election so much - perhaps 1979 was the last time. Then, after nearly a decade of Vic Feather and Len Murray and shots of Congress House in virtually every news report the same feeling for a need for change was in the air.

In retrospect, the 70s and the Thatcher years were where the rot started. In 1974 Anthony Crosland told local government 'The party's over' - meaning the expansionist Client State fuelled by the economic boom of the 60s was over, a theme echoes by Keith Joseph in the years that followed. When Thatcher came to power in 1979, the central State expanded its powers beyond levels that had not even been seen during the dark days of the war, at the time the only measure to rein in the trots in the town halls, but ironically the foundation for Zanu Labour's Centralist control freakery from 1997.

Gordon Brown is even less capable than Jim Callaghan of steering the ship of state. As he attempts to tighten his grip on every aspect of citizens' lives, as he tries to convince his dying party and an angry nation that he's in control, the more control slips from his chewed fingers. Damned with faint praise by his own backbenchers, held on his back foot by the media, it's not now a question of if he goes but when. In fact, his Jonah abilities are so acute that I'm convinced every high-profile appearance he'll make between now and Thursday will knock points off the Labour votes - Livingstone must be praying he'll stay out of London.

At the station the other night, three subdued and rather pathetic looking Labourites were trying to hand out Livingstone leaflets. I didn't see any takers, but there must have been some as the road away from the station was thickly littered with them for about 50m, though dozens more had been carefully discarded into the litter bin. Support for Livingstone seems very subdued, and whilst I suspect there are many like me who can't wait to cast a vote against him by ticking Boris' box whatever the weather on Thursday, I'm not so sure that those who have declared their support for Livingstone to the pollsters will be as keen to make the effort. We'll see.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A guide to fining the Council for litter

The Times carries a story this morning on the many thousands who are now being chased and fined by local government bin police. Given the poor state of many of our streets, parks, amenity green areas, beaches and other public open spaces you may find this ironic. However, and I mean this quite seriously, if you are aggrieved by such litter and do nothing about it, it is YOUR FAULT.

Section 91 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows any person aggrieved by such litter or refuse to apply directly to the local magistrates' court for an order against the council. If the council fails to comply with the order, it may be convicted and fined.

Now please don't take this as an invitation to lay premature, frivolous or vexatious cases before our already overburdened magistrates; if you follow the steps below, I think there will be few cases where this will be necessary. Readers bored already may click on something else now ...

1. Catch your hare, as Mrs Beaton said. You really must be aggrieved by the want of cleanliness of an area of public space, and it should be a regular and persistent want of cleanliness. The footpath to your daily station, the local park, an eyesore scrappy piece of amenity greenspace you drive through every day, a beach or foreshore where you walk the dog, or the road outside your home.

2. Determine ownership. In most cases this will be clear, but shorelines above the high water line and railway land may prove difficult - read the Act under the heading 'relevant land'.

3. Look carefully at the standards given in the government's Statutory Guidance - the area must look like 'C' or 'D' to be actionable. Take photographs, and use the date and time imprint if you have one - you may need to refer the photographs in your witness statement. The council or landholder has a period of grace in which to put it right, and this varies. For the street outside your house, or the path to the station this may be one day; for a town centre street, half a day and for an isolated foreshore 14 days.

4. Email the council or landholder. For councils, email addresses are usually given on their websites, but ensure you also address to the chief executive. Their email addresses are standard and I haven't come across a council yet where doesn't reach them. Write in something like the following terms (giving your name and postal address). Also send a hard-copy of the notice at the same time to the chief executive.
Dear Sir,

Notice under s.91 Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Council's land ( describe location as fully as possible - plan, OS map reference may all be useful) is heavily littered / unclean / disfigured with refuse or waste and is detrimental to the amenity of the area to the extent that I am aggrieved by the want of cleanliness.

I attach photographs taken at (time) and (time) that show no improvement or efforts to clean or remediate the want of cleanliness, and I believe that this land should be cleaned to the standards and within the timescales for land of category (n) within the Statutory Guidance to s.89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

I therefore give (five days or more) notice under s.91 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 that unless the Council remediates this nuisance by that time, that you will be liable to legal action that may lead to a conviction and fine.
5. If, in the extraordinary event that the council fails to comply with the notice, you will need more photographs and will need to make out a Witness Statement that details all of the above including the photographs ("At about 4pm on the 1st of May, I again visited the location and found it to be heavily littered. I took photographs, labelled Pic6 to Pic10,..."

6. You will then need to contact the clerk to the magistrates and tell them that you wish to lay an information in respect of an offence committed by the council. The court will then summons the chief executive to answer the charge.

If councils are genuinely committed to securing a litter free environment, and not just committed to bullying their citizens, I am sure they will welcome the above guidance with open arms to help them to better manage their estate ...