Saturday, May 09, 2009

Nominated for Deputy Leader of Basildon District Council

I have been nominated as Deputy Leader of Basildon District Council by my colleagues in the ruling Conservative Group. Subject to the vote at the Council AGM on the 21st, that will be my new role in the service of the people of Basildon District. It is a huge and humbling honour to have such trust in me shown by my colleagues and friends and I am so grateful to them, and to the many others that have supported my in my political career for this opportunity. I can only say that I will do my best for all of the people of the District.

Nominated as new leader is Cllr. Tony Ball, the current deputy who will be following in a family tradition as his father was a the leader of the Council in times past. The outgoing leader is Cllr. Malcolm Buckley, an immensely capable and successful politician, who is stepping down as his own decision.

Monday, May 04, 2009

30 year anniversary of Mrs. Thatcher's 1979 victory

Thirty years ago today the mould of post-war politics was broken by a determined leader who was determined to squarely face the problems afflicting our country. She didn't weasel; she didn't pretend that some seemingly intractable problems had a compromise solution. Instead, she showed courage and leadership when her country needed it, and bequeathed to us a State better in every way from the one she took over. I remember when she stepped down; the BBC ran a whole series of packages trying to talk up her perceived demerits. It was mean-spirited then, and more importantly lacked any kind of perspective or historical rigour in analysing exactly what she did achieve. Now more time has passed, and more crucially New Labour has been shown to be a hollow shell based on economic incompetence, her work is getting the sort of critical review that it needs. It is ironic that with the nation in crisis, people are now willing to reach back to her accession and understand what it means to become Prime Minister when the previous administration has failed the country.

From the 1979 election time coverage, which ran on the BBC Parliament channel, one thing does stand out. Because Mrs. Thatcher only ended up with a majority of 44 a great many of the talking heads did not think that translated into a mandate for fundamental change. They also didn't think she could bring it about in practical terms with such a majority. Wind forward to 2010, we will need fundamental change. David Cameron will need a mandate and the majority to make it happen. How much does he need? Single digits probably won't be enough.

BBC Parliament running the 1979 election

It's on right now. If you are interested in politics then it is absolutely fascinating.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Prescott tells critics to leave the Labour party

This from John Prescott on-air to Charles Clarke after the latter's recent criticism of Gordon Brown:
Charles, if you are ashamed to stay in the party it's obvious what you should do, isn't it?
What an odious, contemptible thing to say to a senior member of your own party. Labour is not the North Korean communist party, it is supposedly a democratic party operating in the context of a democracy. The idea that it, or any party for that matter, should command the total unswerving loyalty of all of its members regardless of any actions of the leadership is alien to the British way of politics, and an insult to the many good men and women in the Labour movement. Prescott though is an example of a knee-jerk political tribalist. In his world anything Labour comes up with must by definition be better that anyone else, so anything other than unthinking support for Gordon Brown is tantamount to treason. He doesn't do political debate, or ideas, or strategy. He credo is evil Tories and vote for anything with a red rose attached, and that is pretty much it. Except that it wasn't: for reasons of internal party management Tony Blair gave this man real power with the bloated Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. That gave us the ruinously expensive regional structures, but that was just part of the damage this man did to our country. Now, the planning system is a bit of a dry subject, but it is really very, very important. Prescott managed to construct a system that during the longest sustained property boom since the war delivered 25% less housing than the previous Conservative government over the same period. He gave us insane complexity, know-nothing civil servants involved at every stage, huge costs to local communities and no delivery. We have sites in Basildon that should have provided homes and jobs that have gone nowhere because of that man's incompetence. He choked off supply, which forced up prices and contributed to the unsustainable property boom that has hurt our country badly. Property firms are going bankrupt, people are in negative equity, Councils are spending fortunes on crazy bureaucratic exercises that are completely disconnected from local people and we don't have the homes where we need them, that is Prescott's legacy.

But hey, let's stick a red rosette on a donkey and vote for it.