Lamb to the slaughter

Did anyone else hear Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem Health spokesman, on the Today programme? Doctors and other NHS professionals are sick to death (groan!) with Labour's endless reorganisations, targets and Whitehall diktats, so Today is asking the three parties for their views. The first up was Mr. Lamb. Talk about 'Lamb to the slaughter'!

Lamb said that he didn't know too much about health as he'd only just been appointed to the role. But that didn't stop him from making the clownish suggestion that county councils should be involved in running the NHS. Is this in some misguided attempt at decentralisation? I'm all for subsidiarity, but this is a daft idea. Are county councils really so impressive at exercising their existing powers that we want to hand the NHS over to them too? The last thing we need is the 'municipalisation' of the NHS! Politicians (national and local) should butt out of clinical and operational matters in the NHS - and leave these to the professionals at a hospital trust level.

Tomorrow, I think, is Andrew Lansley's turn for the Conservatives.

Blair's departure date - enter the Rev. Paisley

New> that Lord Levy, Labour’s ‘Money Man’, has been arrested for a second time has led me to think about Blair's departure date.

My hypothesis is that Blair will go within days of the Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley becoming Northern Ireland's First Minster in coalition with Sinn Fein. Such a government would be truly historic and it would have taken place under his premiership. He will claim that peace in Northern Ireland is part of his 'legacy'.

Paisley has to enter an agreement with Sinn Fein around 26th March. So my guess is that Blair will go in early April. So if you hear “PM resigns” on April 1, don’t treat is as an April Fool’s joke!

My big birthday tent

On Friday, it's my birthday; I shall be 26. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! On Saturday, I'm having my birthday party - one day late. Why? Friday would make it impossible for my Jewish friends, such as Lydia and Dov, to attend. And besides, people just want to 'chill' on a Friday night after a long week at work.

My parties always attract a good mix - young, old, gay, straight, black, white, but mostly Conservative. This year, I've actually invited more Labour and Lib Dem councillors than Conservative. It doesn't really matter because we rarely discuss politics and this always pleases my non-political friends. I'm looking forward to reporting back on it - if I can remember anything.

ConservativeHome or CatholicHome? Liberals or Liabilities?

I spent most of yesterday standing up for gay equality on ConservativeHome, which is supposed to be a website for us grassroot Tories. However, UKIP trolls hijacked the debate on whether the Catholic Church and other religious organisations should be allowed to discriminate against gay men and women, especially on adoption. Their postings were really bigoted and hate-filled. If they had indeed been Conservatives, I would have torn my membership card up!

Sure, there are some rabid homophobes amongst our ranks, but the good news is that such people are either dying off or defecting to UKIP. But the Lib Dems, of all parties, seem to be jumping on the anti-equality bandwagon. I discovered today that one of their MPs, Richard Younger-Ross (Teignbridge) has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to support an opt-out. He was joined by his Lib Dem colleague Colin Breed (Cornwall South East), two Labour and three Conservative MPs.

I issued this press release to the gay press today.

It's never easy or edifying to criticise one's own party and I've been joined by Norfolk Blogger, a true liberal and independent thinker.

Bloggers united!

After a very informative meeting last night at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) attended by senior London Conservatives such as myself, I headed down to the Old Dairy in Stroud Green to meet a couple of fellow bloggers, including the eccentric Newmania (aka Paul Newman).

Paul seems to think that I have a Scottish accent similar to that of Lloyd Grossman. But isn't Grossman American? Goodness knows what I'll sound like when I get back from campaigning in Scotland? Anyway, we had a good old-fashioned debate about Europe. Jonathan, an Islington Conservative, was a passionate Better Off Out (BOO) bloke; tried to say how we need to stay in the European Union and in the EPP and fight for the kind of Europe that we want to see: a Europe of democracies, economic stability, free and fair trade, liberty, human rights and globalisation. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them and hope to see them all again - soon.

Suck it and sea?

Yesterday, as I was in town for a hair cut, I popped in to Compton's pub on Old Compton Street for a quick pint. The five guys sat next to me, obviously tourists, wanted directions to Harrods. Needless to say, I was happy to oblige. This generated a conversation between us. I established that they were from Denmark - nothing unusual about that.

But they were gay fisherman! Yes, gay fisherman! Didn't even know they existed - trust me to meet them! Tried to explain to them what a 'Fisherman's friend' is in English, but they started to get the wrong idea! Another thought: if the Danes can have gay fishermen, it shouldn't be too hard for we Brits to come up with a few gay lumberjacks....

More Duff than Luff!

Oh dear. It seems that Conservative MP Peter Luff is a bit duff. The moron has just signed EDM 711 which is tabled by soon-to-be-out Labour MP, Martin Linton. The EDM criticises the brilliantly-run Conservative borough of Wandsworth for withdrawing financial support for the Battersea Arts Centre (BAS). Well, if the government didn't favour its heartlands in the North and was fair to Southern (mostly Conservative) boroughs, we wouldn't be in this situation. Just whose side are you on Mr Duff, sorry, Luff?

Greyhound starved to death in a Scottish police station

The BBC is reporting a story about a greyhound that was left to starve to death for ten days in a Scottish police station as an incompetent officer failed to log its details and pass on the information of its presence. Instead, it was placed in a holding kennel without food or exercise and was only discovered when staff complained about a dreadful smell.

What's worse, greyhounds, being so placid and gentle animals, do not really bark so this dog would have suffered in silence. I love greyhounds. This story has put me in a sad mood for the day. Thankfully, Lothian and Borders Police said an investigation had been launched into the "tragic" human error, which could result in disciplinary action.

Coming out...

People have often wondered when I would 'come out'. A few have even openly asked me suggestive questions. I can't bear it anymore; I'd rather 'be myself' and live with all the consequences of coming out. Here goes: I want Paul Newman, aka Newmania, to be our London candidate.

In the absence of any credible 'big fish', Paul gets my support. He's intelligent, funny and hard-working. He lives in Islington and understands the problems of living in the Big Smoke. His latest article, on some podgy cad, made me opt for him.

There you go. I've done it. It wasn't that difficult. I hope his wife understands.

Educashion in Labour-run Haringey

Dear little Emma informs us that a number of bids have been submitted to run the new secondary school in Wood Green. Two organiastions wanting to run the new school stick out: Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College Trust, which has a proven track record, and Labour-run Haringey's bid for a community school, fully state-funded and LEA-run. Which do you think our elected representatives support? You guessed it! Not satisfied with ruining the education of thousands of local youngsters, Labour now wants to inflict such misery on tomorrow's secondary school pupils. Haringey has two of the worst secondary schools in Britain and would surely be The bottom of all the league tables if it wasn't for something called "value-added" scores which seems to give failing schools a 'get out of jail free' card.

Emma claims that Haringey "now has a proven track record of success in education". Come again? As usual, Emma, you’re talking bollocks! Assuming Emma is pregnant (she looks as if she's eaten a whole African village!), will she be sending her child to the Greig City Academy where only 15% gain a grade A-C pass as GCSE English and Maths? I don't think so!

Guess who?

I'm pictured in the week's gay lads' QX magazine (p.40) sitting in Victoria's Slag, sorry, Stag. For those of you who have never met me, guess which one is ME...

David Lammy

Croydonian has a nice little story about our ghastly Member of Parliament, David Lammy - the man who led a botched campaign to save KFC from closing in Tottenham High Road.

Lammy has been out of his depth in every single ministerial job he's ever had. It's not just right-wing parliamentary sketch writers who think he should be sacked; it's a growing number of people in the Tottenham Labour Party. Several local Labour councillors, whom I know, really detest him and openly talk about wanting to de-select him. Well, now is the time to do it! If we have to have a Labour MP, is it not asking for too much for him/her to be a good parliamentarian, a good constituency MP and isn't afraid to rebel against party whips?

The 'Kebab Boys'

My spy at the local Tottenham job centre tells me that there is a record number of 'job-seeking' claimants, mainly of Kurdish and Turkish origins, who actually "help Out", sorry work, in the family-owned kebab and burger shops but claim that they don't get paid. Well, if you believe that then the Pope's a Hindu!

The "Kebab Boys", as they are known, often work more than 16 hours (the maximum number of hours a job-seeker can work before signing off). So who's telling the truth? If they are actually being paid (as I suspect), then they should be done for benefit fraud. If they are telling the truth (which I doubt), then their employers, often family relatives, should be charged with breaching labour laws (not paying the minimum wage etc) - just like some MPs!

Talking of kebabs, some shops are now open twenty-four hours a day. Imagine having a donner for breakfast? I think I’ll stick with freshly brewed coffee and a piece of toast. Kebabs can be delicious – normally at three in the morning after 10 pints of beer!

Lynne Featherstone to be investigated by Revenue and Customs?

MPs are to face an investigation by Revenue and Customs for allegedly breaking the minimum wage laws by hiring young people as unpaid interns to work in the offices in parliament and their constituencies, according to a report in today's Guardian.

Since being elected to Parliament, the millionairess Member for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, has frequently used this site to hire interns to make her tea, open her letters and to fold her Focuses.

The inquiry follows complaints from interns that they may be being exploited and advertisements from MPs of all parties, including some asking interns to do the work of staff on leave or specifying hours of work.

Why should interns be expected to work 9-5 and be paid nothing? It's a practice that should end. MPs like Lynne should know better.

Europhile? I am - according to the BOO people

Various people have been accusing me of being a "Europhile" because I do not support BOO (the 'Better Off Out' campaign group). I don't think the economic climate is right for us to join the Euro, am firmly opposed to the sloppy EU Constitution and support David Cameron's pledge to withdraw from the European Social Charter and Human Rights Act.

I still think it's a bad move to leave our friends in the European People's Party (EPP) grouping to sit with the unknown or, worse still, social conservatives from eastern European countries who still think Queen Victoria is on the throne.

I'm a moderate Euro-sceptic, but BOO's supporters can only see things in black and white. Shades of grey don't exist for them. Doesn't all this make me a moderate Euro-sceptic? But in the eyes of BOO supporters, I'm a Europhile who should be hanged in the Tower for high treason - or at the very least be kicked out of the Conservative Party.

New tube strike on the cards

According to an old friend, a London Underground employee, London is set to be crippled by a tube strike - the first in 2007. The date of the strike will be announced by the end of the month by the RMT. And a happy New Year to you too, Mr Crow!

Will BA now fly towards bankruptcy, thanks to Emma?

Dear little Emma is feeling ever so pleased with herself. Her motion to ban Haringey employees from travelling by air was passed at Full Council and the Labour Group's spin doctor has just issued this press release. Just how many Haringey employees travel to meetings by air? Well, that's a good question! According to the journalist who rang me this afternoon, Haringey's press department couldn't answer the question. Nor do they intend to - saying that it would be too costly and time-consuming to find out.

The journalist wanted to know my thoughts on the matter. I said that it was gesture politics of the worst kind. Labour-run Haringey has a long history playing gesture politics - normally to satisfy those on the hard and politically-correct Left. No doubt Nelson Mandela was released from prison as a direct result of Haringey having passed a motion calling on the South African government to do so. Who actually gives a toss about what smug little Haringey councillors think?

Haringey Members' Register of Interests

I didn't get to bed this morning until past midnight so engrossed was I in studying the Register of Interests for each Haringey Council Member (sad, I know). Surprisingly, it was quite interesting and entertaining. But a minority of councillors from both parties refuse to have their interests published on-line - forcing people like me to make an appointment with the Council so I can inspect the documents in person. What do they have to hide? Not surprisingly, the ever-shifty and shifting Ron Aitken (Conservative-turned-SNP-turned-Conservative-turned-Independent-turned-ProLife-turned-Ulster Unionist-turned-Conservative-turned Lib Dem member for Crouch End) is one of those councillors keeping us in the dark. As does his superrannuated stringer pal, Cllr. John Oakes (Lib Dem, Bounds Green).

Some councillors of working age do not work. Probably because they're unemployable...

I almost fell off my chair when I discovered the intellectually-challenged Cllr. Pat Egan (Lab, Woodside) is a TEACHER. Ditto Cllr. Antonia Mallett (Lab, West Green).

And there were a couple of funny ones, too! The last question asked of councillors was to list their trade unions or professional affiliations, if any. Hilariously, Cllr. GMMH Rahman Khan (Lab, West Green) listed:

A. Freedom Pass-holder
B. Free NHS medicine
C. State pensioner

Cllr. Sheila Rainger (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) works for the motorists' friend, the RAC. Nice and green, isn't it?

Cllr. Neil "Humourless" Williams (Lib Dem, Highgate) works for the British Beer and Pub Association. That explains the pickled nature of Lib Dem thinking on Haringey Council!

As well as the usual outside organisations that Members support (Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam etc), there are some very controversial ones, including "Dignity in Dying" (as it now calls itself) - the main group in the euthanasia lobby. Older council members like Sheila Peacock had better watch out!

The Railway Tavern's re-opening - but when?

Matt will be pleased to note that the Railway Tavern on White Hart Lane is soon to re-open after being closed for such a long time (reasons unclear). A few months back, the Tottenham Journal reported that it will be re-opening under new management and I've just spotted lights on, so I assume that last minute work is being done before the official opening. Although it's not in White Hart Lane ward, it's literally 200 yards over the border in Northumberland Park. White Hart Lane is the only ward in Haringey without a single pub, so the re-opening will be really welcomed by local residents and, dare I say it, Spurs supporters on matchdays. When it will open for business remains a mystery. I’ll do a bit of digging and report back once I have some news.

How green am I?

I recycle – cans/tins and millions of glass bottles (can’t recycle plastics here, I’m afraid)

I re-use all newspapers in the Guinea Pigs’ cages (x2)

I buy ecological toilet cleaner (which is, excuse the pun, crap at removing limescale!)

I have renewable energy

I re-use carrier bags

I use public transport

I have energy-efficient lightbulbs

I do not buy bottled water

I do not have an electric toothbrush or razor

And I have just bought Sainsbury’s Revive toilet rolls which are made from 100% recycled paper (I wonder if James will notice a difference? We normally have Andrex)

Now, how green do you think I am on a scale of 0-10 (with 10 being the highest mark)? Any new green tips would be greatly appreciated.

Working all year round, not just at election times

Spent nearly all of this morning out with Lydia delivering newsletters. We spent four hours in total – going to block after block and climbing stair after stair. I’m exhausted. What’s the betting that, come polling day in 2008, people will be complaining that they only see us working when there’s an election on? We politicians can't win, can we?

Losing by a whisker

Tomorrow’s Tottenham Journal, already out on-line, carries a story about this year’s winner of the Beard Liberation Front's (BLF) annual tongue-in-cheek Beard of Haringey Awards. Unfortunately, so it would seem, I lost by a whisker! Congratulations to Cllr. Isodorus Diakides (Lab, Tottenham Green), this year’s winner. Other runners up included, Peter Budge (Green), Cllr. Sheik Thompson (Lab, Tottenham Hale) and Cllr. Richard Wilson (Lib Dem, Stroud Green).

My beard was described as a “tidy goatee” whilst Cllr. Wilson’s beard was described as “shaggy”...

Throw ‘em all out!

I see that UKIP have their first “foothold” in Parliament with the defection of, as Iain Dale called them, two semi-detached Conservative peers. So UKIP now has parliamentary representation without being elected. This is plain wrong. Let’s introduce elections to the Second Chamber and throw out the gaga, the hangers-on, the hereditaries and Tony’s cronies. Let the people decide!

Tonight's Full Council - where did Cllr. Matt disappear to?

Another fairly boring Full Council meeting this evening. Top marks to the Lib Dems’ Richard Wilson (Stroud Green). He made a passionate maiden speech about how awful Labour is at running the Social Services Department and highlighted threatened cuts to local residents. Interesting to see that Ray Dodds (Lab, Bruce Grove) attacked Livingstone over fare hikes and the unfairness of the Oyster Card for those on low-incomes. I am sure Ray, a neighbour, read my press release before he left home this evening. It’s funny how Labour councillors hate Transport for London (TfL) – Livingstone’s ‘baby’, isn't it?

Dear Emma proposed a motion to limit air travel and instead encourage train travel. I arrived at the Civic Centre a few minutes late and the agendas ran out, so I don’t have the exact text of the motion. Not a single mention from Emma about the Mayor’s new gas-guzzling car…

Anyway, the real question is: where did the radiant-looking Cllr. Matt Davies disappear to at "half time"? He missed a number of really close votes. Perhaps he went off to watch a football match on the Leader’s £5,000 Plasma TV in the Labour Group Office?

New Labour, new hypocrisy

Labour politicians have a history in saying one thing in public and doing the exact opposite in private. When I first became interested in local politics back in the early nineties, it was revealed that Lucy Craig, a left-wing Labour councillor responsible for Haringey schools, had shunned the local schools, for which she was responsible, and sent her own daughter to a fee-paying school.

Harriet Harman and the Dear Leader himself, TB, opted for selective schools in Conservative boroughs rather than subjecting their children to a dire education in the rotten Labour boroughs of Southwark and Islington respectively.

Today's newspapers detail how former Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has withdrawn her son from a state school and placed him in a private school because the state couldn't provide for his unspecified 'special needs'. What ARE those special needs, I wonder? Having an anxious middle class mother who doesn't want her boy to mix with those rough kids from the council estates?

Interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Barry Sheerman, the Chairman of the Education Select Committee, refused to comment on Kelly case citing it as a "personal matter". A professor in Special Needs talked about Labour extra investment in education and Alan Johnson, the current Education Secretary, also refused to answer questions. Would the Editor of the programme kindly tell us what was the point of that slot?

Do I think Kelly is a hypocrite? Yes, I do. Why? Because Labour politicians - both Old and New - oppose choice in education and expect ordinary children to attend failing local comprehensives and be grateful for it. They, on the other hand, are happy to send their children to academically selective, faith, foundation and fee-paying schools. It's one rule for them, and another rule for us.

If Nelson lived today in Labour's PC Britain

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the signal officer. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability". "What gobbledygook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting ‘England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It's part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it....full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please"

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle, Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently-abled."

Nelson: "Differently-abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of
admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want
anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny."

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity coordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life"

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "Ah! I believe that is now compulsory, sir

Local Conservative websites

Having nursed a bad chest infection at home, I had plenty of time to view local Conservative websites. To my astonishment, so many are out-of-date or simply do not exist. Take, for example, Wandsworth Conservatives - the borough that takes in the marginal constituencies of Battersea, Putney and Tooting. A number of sites have not been up-dated since the 2005 General election. And nearly all of them still display the old Torch logo! Every Conservative Association in the UK should have an up-todate website - they're not that difficult or expensive to set up and they're the most effective way to communicate with the public, gain new members and win elections.

Apart from my own Tottenham website (which I look after) my favourite site has to be Islington Conservatives - as it's easy to read, stylish and always up-to-date. Congratulations, Islington Conservatives!

What’s your favourite Association website(s)? And why?

How to make a 2,333% profit in less than 18 months

See here

A night out in N1

We (David Allen, Catriona McKenzie and Moi) spent last night in Islington's Upper Street. The Pitcher and Piano bar is really cosy. They have a January "sale" on and are selling 'Champagne' for £10 a bottle. It turned out to be Cava - I knew it was too good to be true!

After David left for home, we went to a splendid cocktail bar in Chapel Street. It was a bit pricey, but the drinks were fab. It's a small venue opposite McDonald’s - does anyone know the name of it? Newmania surely knows?

Thankfully, I managed to catch the last tube back to Wood Green.

The childish, patronising, smug and now stupid Member for Bruce Grove - part three

I’m almost lost for words. Dear Emma has just revealed that she has had a second appointment cancelled at the Whittington Hospital (the local hospital for Muswell Hill residents). Cancelled appointments and operations, dirty wards, and a shortage of equipment (such as MRI scanners) are the hallmarks of today’s NHS. That aside, how on earth does she think sacking 38,000 NHS staff in 2007 will help people on the waiting lists get their appointments and operations? Yes, the NHS really is getting worse – thanks to Labour, the party you support. Her latest post smacks of both stupidity and hypocrisy, although I'm not sure in which order.

The childish, patronising and smug Member for Bruce Grove - part two

Remarkable. In response to both posts (running to some three and a half thousand words) she only manages to find one minor point to argue with! Reading her last soppy post, I immediately thought of the late John Junor quote: “Pass the sick-bag, Alice!”

Five things you didn't know about me

I've been tagged by Norfolk Blogger (Cllr. Nick Starling) with the five things meme, which should be things you probably don't know (or want to know) about me.

1. I had a "Sympathectomy" in 2002 - a major operation to stop my hands from sweating. The procedure involved inserting a 9inch needle into my chest to deflate my right lung to cut a sympathetic nerve behind it.

2. I successfully lobbied the European Commission to force Romania to provide anti-retrovirals to all its children infected with HIV (some 3,000!) as a pre-condition for EU membership.

3. I hate public speaking.

4. I was the youngest Conservative Party Chairman and local government candidate anywhere in the UK in 2002.

5. I stood for election in Cambridge in 2003 - losing by just 51 votes.

I now task Cllr. Matt Davies, Cllr. Nick King, Croydonian, Fahrenheit and Newmania to do likewise. Let's see what happens...

Rescue a pet in 2007 - don't buy one

People have been abandoning many animals - ranging from hamsters to puppies - now that Christmas is over. Despite warnings from all the leading animal charities in the lead up to Christmas, pets are still given out as presents. Sadly, they are often thrown out with the tree and Turkey carcass. This makes me sad. So if you're planning to become a pet-owner in 2007, please consider rescuing your pet(s). My Guinea pig, Pippet came from Bobtails - a rabbit and guinea pig rescue centre in Surrey. The other two, George and Zippy, came from a punter at the Conservative Club in Bruce Grove, as she had grown tired of them. Feel free to email me if you would like details of local rescue centres.

By the way, if you're a Conservative and care about animal welfare, have you ever considered joining the Conservative Animal Welfare Group (CAWG) ?

The childish, patronising and smug Member for Bruce Grove - part one

I have just been emailed this website. I have no idea who is responsible for it but it's so true!

Although I do occasionally read Jones's blog, I find it tedious in the extreme. She is the worst kind of lefty - childish, patronising and smug. Her first post, so I seem to recall, was about how she became a Labour Party Member - it wasn't that she opposed Nato, Right-to-Buy or Trident but Daddy 'educated' her and made her deliver leaflets. Had he been a Jehovah’s Witness, she'd be out knocking on doors armed with a Bible.

Yes, she teaches - probably Marxism - in our schools. I view her with utter contempt. She is not fit to be a councillor. I wish she'd sod off back to Muswell Hill. Gosh, I really hate lefties - especially ones from the "West" who travel down the Hill to N15 and N17 and know what's 'best' for us.

The real heroes

Just returned home after delivering leaflets in one of our target wards in Tottenham. The residents I spoke to kept asking me "when is the next election?". To their amazement, I explain that we work all year-round, not just at election times and that, barring a General Election, the next elections will be in 2008.

I delivered to a few lovely roads with period housing but also did a council estate. Most of the houses were in a terrible state with paint peeling off the doors and windows, rubbish in the gardens and ancient cars being used for spare parts in the drives. The blocks of flats were worse - broken entry phones, rubbish everywhere (pizza leaflets, used condoms etc) and dark hallways and stairs (a result of lightbulbs not being replaced by the Council). Even the sheltered housing block displayed a poster asking visitors (and residents?) to urinate in the toilet on the first floor, not on the stairs. The local Labour councillors seem oblivious to all these problems! How can they sleep at night, let alone vote to give themselves a massive pay rise as they did at last month’s full council meeting?

In the middle of this particular estate stood two immaculate houses; the gates were nicely painted, the lawns were freshly cut, the winter pansies were out in bloom, stylish double-glazing had been added to the houses and freshly-cut flowers sat in the windows. The dogs probably had coats from Harrods! Despite living under Haringey Council, having invisible councillors, having anti-social neighbours and living on a fairly grim estate, the owners of these two houses seem to just get on with life as best they can. It can’t be easy. Such people are the real heroes in Britain - struggling against all the odds with little or no help from the State. It is they who deserve OBEs and MBEs - not multi-millionaire pop stars living in tax exiles.

Has Prescott been reading Nich's blog?

Yesterday, Nich Starling (a real liberal as opposed to the quasi-Socialist ones who make up the Lib Dems) posted a story on his blog about the way Saddam Hussein was treated by his Shia "enemies".

Today, John Prescott appears on the Today Programme to echo Nich's views. Is it possible that Prescott has been reading Norfolk Blogger, as Nich suggested? I think not, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the government used taxpayers' cash to employ people to visit political blogs and websites and 'report' back to Labour officials.

A couple of observations:

1. The Deputy Prime Minister - a one John Prescott - voted for the Iraq war

2. Prescott said those responsible for the taunting and photographing of Saddam's execution (the guards loyal to Shia leader Moqtada al Sadr ) should be "ashamed of themselves" (Nich’s point from yesterday!)

3. His Cabinet colleague, Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, said "justice has been done" - despite the government’s official opposition to capital punishment

Just who speaks for the Government - John P or Margaret B? Hypocrisy stinks (see my previous post!)

Thanks to Nich for giving me something to write about. More here

Lib Dem hypocrisy and opportunism in N4

"It's so sad that Stroud Green Road is so bare this Christmas whilst other high streets look so festive. Shoppers and residents deserve a bit of Christmas sparkle," cries Cllr. Laura Edge, the area's Lib Dem representative on Haringey Council, in a recent press release.

Perhaps somebody should tell Cllr. Edge that half of Stroud Green Road lies within the Lib Dem-run borough of ISLINGTON.

Lambasting Labour-Haringey on this issue and conveniently forgetting Lib Dem-Islington's shared responsibility smacks of the usual hypocrisy and opportunism we have come to expect from the Lib Dems.

Sadly, the reason that Stroud Green has missed out is probably precisely because it does straddle the border of two boroughs: neither can be bothered spending money on a visual amenity in a peripheral area where at least half of those who benefit from it will not be voters in THEIR borough……

Selection in schools - bring it back!

More than three-quarters of people believe bright children would do better if taught separately, a poll suggests. More than 1,000 people were surveyed for a report by the Centre for Policy Studies.

It found almost as many (73%) thought streaming or a selective system would also help academically weaker children. The report's author, Lord Blackwell, says all children, particularly the poor, would benefit from selection - a theory rejected by the government.

What we have now, especially in Haringey, is selection by postcode. Bright Tottenham children are condemned to failing local comprehensives, whilst kids in the West of the borough have sanctimonious, hypocritical middle-class Guardian-reading parents who are willing to pay hundreds of thousands over the odds for properties in tree-lined streets and pay for out-of-school tuition.

"Grammar schools used to provide a route out for them (bright children in low-income families). Now it is selection by postcode, rather than selection by ability", says Lord Blackwell. Too bloody right!

In his report, he proposes:

To allow streaming in all state schools To enable state schools to opt to be fully selective

To allow parents to decide whether or not to apply to a selective school

To offer free transport to selective schools to serve poorer children

To provide information on selective schools to all parents of primary school children

To transform all state schools into independent foundation schools to encourage competition


Parents want selection and streaming, children need it - let's hope this report turns into a flagship Conservative policy at the next General election. Three cheers for Lord Blackwell !!!

Elections in Scotland

I've been asked to give my views on the forthcoming elections in Scotland. I am not going to make it a habit to comment on issues north of the border, but will adhere, on this occasion, to the request.

Scotland's council elections will be carried out under Proportional Representation (PR), so Labour will take a battering. Perversely, Conservatives will lose councillors in the Parliamentary seats that we held until 1997. But this will be offset by gains in majority opposition seats. The same will apply to the Lib Dems and Nats. Under such arrangements, I would not be at all surprised to see Labour lose control of Glasgow City Council...

As for the Scottish Parliament, I would expect Labour to continue to be the biggest party (just). The SNP will do well - hopefully at the Liberal's expense for jumping into bed with the Scottish Labour Party. The Conservatives will more or less stay with the same number of MSPs - 18. And the far-left will splinter with the arrival of yet another Socialist Party (Scottish Solidarity, led by Tommy Sheridan). The Greens may have 'peaked' at the last election but it's possible they may get another List Member. There might even be a few Independents elected on local hospital and toll campaigns.

My view is that the Conservative Party in Scotland should be 100% independent from Westminster and should champion Independence. This would help revive the Scottish Conservatives and forever deprive Labour of a majority in England, so it’s win-win for us. Matthew Parris wrote this excellent article arguing for the same case:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1065-2523566,00.html

I will have a better feel for what's going on 'on the ground' when I and several others descend into Scotland in April to campaign in Kilmarnock and Loudoun for the Conservatives' Dr. Janette McAlpine (http://www.janettemcalpine.org.uk/)