Wednesday, March 02, 2011

John Baron MP hosts Traveller meeting

MP and Councillor Tony Ball confirm Basildon Council’s position

Today in Parliament John Baron MP hosted a meeting which involved the travellers at the illegal Dale Farm site, local Councillors and residents. The purpose was to follow up on the meeting in January and agree action points going forward.

The travellers, following consultation at Dale Farm stated that they would not leave peacefully unless they had somewhere to go. The Council confirmed its position that it will clear the site. However, a £60 million fund has been made available in the last month from central Government which the travellers are now pursuing with the aim of finding sites outside the Borough.

John and Councillor Tony Ball said:

“We have made it clear that the rule of law must be obeyed and that this site will be cleared forcefully if necessary and within our timetable. However, we see it as our civic duty to go the extra mile to try and avoid the misery of a forced eviction whilst upholding the law.”

“There is a £60 million fund which has only become available in the last month to help provide sites. The travellers are now liaising with Essex County Council and the HCA in order to use this fund to locate sites outside the District. We will facilitate communication if required.”

Further to this, a Planning Application has been received for a Traveller site on the HCA land at
Gardiners Lane South. However, that application is defective in that much necessary work has simply not been done. No such application can be considered until it reaches the high standard that we require for all major applications in Basildon Borough.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Basildon Borough Budget

It was Budget night last night at Basildon Council. My colleague Cllr. Phil Turner presented a balanced programme that cuts the Council Tax by 0.25%, maintains frontline services and invests in community facilities, while making the required savings to keep in line with the fall in government support. So, we are spening £300,000 this year on Hannakins Farm Community Centre, Pitsea Leisure Centre and Victoria Park. Who could possibly object? Well, step forward Basildon Labour Party.

Labour's plan was to take £2m from reserves and borrow £2m in order to avoid building on open space to fund the Sporting Village. This was in support of the Kent View Road campaign to prevent houses being built in their vicinity. So, we have the basic principle of spending very large amounts of money in order to satisfy a relatively small resident's group. The Council's reserves and debt levels would be compromised so that Labour can jump on a bandwagon. Except that doesn't happen because they know that those sensible Tories will vote it down.

Of course, their proposal was technically flawed. They got the sum required to meet their stated objectives wrong; it's £8m not £4m. The failed to take the loss of income to the Council from the reserves they spent, which are currently invested. Worst of all, they programmed in a further £150,000 of savings without realising that this almost certainly equated to redundancies. Oh did their little faces fall when that was explained to them. What a shambles.

Their next wheeze was to cancel our weekend free car-parking in order to fund a free music festival that we have cut. They claimed that this £100,000 initiative had failed. Well, not according to the local Chambers of Commerce and the Essex FSB it hasn't, but Labour didn't bother to talk to them. Another shambles.

Sometimes I wish for a better opposition. Sometimes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Megrahi blackmailed Gaddafi over Lockerbie bombing

Just when you think the Labour government's actions over the Lockerbie terrorist Megrahi couldn't get any more sordid, another shoe drops. Now they are free to tell the truth it appears Megrahi threatened to reveal the details of how Gaddafi ordered the Lockerbie bombing unless the dictator got him out of his Scottish prison. According to the Telegraph, this is from two separate sources: former Justice Minister Mustapha Abdel-Jalil and former terror mastermind Atef Abu Bakr. So, basically we have confirmation that Megrahi was as guilty as hell, that Gaddafi planned the whole thing and yet the bomber is sitting at home with this family having exceeded his advertised 3-month lifespan by a long enough time to write a novel. Moreover, we now know why Libya was so desperate to get him home: because he had said he would squeal otherwise, and Gordon Brown and his cronies went along with it.

Hang on, someone might say, wasn't this all the decision of the Scottish government? Well, for the someone who doesn't know how politics works, there would have been no way on God's green earth that the Scots would have let Megrahi go over the strong and public objections of the British government. Instead, the Brown regime gave the Scots political cover by keeping any criticism either muted or non-existent. That created an environment where the Scottish government could release Megrahi without political consequences in Scotland and where US criticism largely fell on the UK. The fact is that Gordon Brown let the worst mass-murderer in British history out of jail because he thought it would improve relations with a genocidal dictator.

That man's moral compass is nailed to a direction that does not require principles to follow.