Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
So, Brown is in trouble and even cheerleaders like Simon Heffer are laying into him, though in this case via a moronic economic analysis. When even New Labour apologists like Heffer turn against you then you know you've got a problem.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
31st August 2007 Ref: JB/TDTerence Gandy is a Councillor on Billericay Town Council and he deserves congratulations along with John for gripping this issue. The Trust is on notice on this one. Billericay as a community will fight for our local health facilities.
Dear Alan ,
St Andrews Centre, Billericay
I am writing to express my concerns and those of local residents about the current review that is being undertaken regarding the future of St Andrews Centre, Billericay.
Whilst accepting that you are obliged by Monitor to ensure that your assets are being properly utilised, you need to be fully aware of the extent to which St Andrews is relied upon by the local community, and the extent to which we will resist any downgrading or closure of services. I have sent a 1,000 signature petition and 78 letters of support to SW Essex PCT to illustrate the strength of feeling on this issue – and my thanks go to Cllr Terence Gandy for helping to collate all these. I will be sending the PCT a further tranche of petitions once they have been collected. I have directed these petitions to the PCT as I fear that any possibility of closure could be driven by cost considerations.
We are determined to fight to keep St Andrews open and fully operational, and would therefore appreciate your written confirmation that this will be the case. You should be aware that, if this confirmation cannot be given now, I will be inviting the PCT to a meeting with local residents to which you will also be invited.
On a related issue, I have also made the PCT aware that I find it somewhat unfortunate that relevant stakeholders were not consulted about this issue – for one thing, it cannot be good for staff morale to first hear about this in the newspapers.
I look forward to hearing from you
John Baron MP
cc: Cllr Terence Gandy
Mr Alan Whittle
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Essex SS16 5NL
Saturday, September 08, 2007
We need not blind ourselves with the technical details of the liquidity crisis enveloping so many financial institutions.Then having made a virtue out of ignorance he sums up the global economy in one incisive sentence:
We are saving too little and borrowing far, far too much. Not just in Britain, but around the world, we have gone on a spending spree.Right, well unbeknownst to Simon, when people spend money it does not evaporate, rather it passes to some other party and is further utilised, spent, invested or whatever. What he is actually saying is that the problem is that there has been too much economic activity, which is absurd unless you genuinely think it is better for people to be poorer. What is actually going on is that it has become apparent that some types of financial instruments cannot be accurately priced, which means that the risk of lending to institutions with the things on their books cannot be gauged. The dodgy assets are based on packaged up mortgages from the US which has seen an unsustainable property boom and a great deal of mis-sold mortgages as a result. It is one of the glories of the globalised economy that bad loans from Iowa can end up in Stuttgart but there you are. Having ignored the 'details' Simon gets on with pointing the finger, and in a complete departure from his usual form, he says that it is Gordon Brown's fault:
Much of this problem domestically is the fault of none other than our Prime Minister. When Chancellor, he set the inflation target for the Bank of England, and he set it too high. The supply of money in the economy has for years grown at an unsustainably high rate.What this means is that Simon thinks that UK interest rates have been too low. He doesn't explain what on earth this has to do with a credit crunch caused by a US property crash, though. Anyway, his central point is that it is all going to end in tears because there is too much personal debt, and he harks back to the Victorians as an exemplar on how things should be organised. All I would say to that is why stop there? Maybe iron-age Britain had a few things to teach us too when it comes to managing international finance in the 21st century? It is also interesting to read a supposed admirer of Margaret Thatcher effectively trashing the concepts of free markets and personal freedom with gems like:
Those sensible Victorians used to lock people up for debt...and
It might not be a bad idea to lock up a few reckless lenders as well...That is economics by a committee of Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe and Lenin. Does anyone still believe that Simon is a Conservative?
Later on Simon returns to more familiar ground in attacking David Cameron, this time for going up in the polls by espousing the sort of Right-wing policies that Simon pretends to endorse. So in Hefferworld no one is right, except for Simon of course.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Of course, this is a good day for civilisation, and that is both Islamic and Judeo-Christian. The nutcases will just have to deal with it.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
There is another hatchet job on the Conservative Party by Simon Heffer in the Telegraph. His position is that though he disagrees with Gordon Brown, the man is a fantastic politician who should use his spike in the polls to call an election sharpish before it all goes wrong. Meanwhile, David Cameron is a lefty who hates his own party. This last is based on Cameron supposedly disliking people who would ‘cut taxes, control immigration, and lock up criminals’. No actual evidence is presented for this, because actually there is none, and Heffer hilariously illustrates this later on in his column by criticising the Party for ‘talking tough on crime and immigration’. Which is it Simon? They can’t both be true. One substantive issue is that George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, has stated that an incoming Conservative government would maintain the same general level of spending as Labour. Simon froths at this, and pretends that this means that the Conservatives would spend the money on the same things, and perpetuate government waste. No-one has said that except, well, Simon, but he gets very excited about it all the same.
His big point is that apart from European Constitution issue, which he tries to play down, there is no reason to vote Conservative. Simon is not really exercised about the state of the country. He goes through the motions of criticising the Labour government, but he only gets really animated when bashing the Tories. The tactic is to supposedly position himself on the Right so that his criticism is even more telling, but where is he really coming from? Anyone who really cared for our country would be angry at soldiers returning in body bags for want of equipment, angry at a welfare system that makes it rational for poor families not to work or save, or even stay together, and angry that our once fully-funded pension system has been wrecked. These aren't just the fault of the Labour government they are the specific fault of Gordon Brown, but Simon glosses over details like that. For him David Cameron is the root of all evil and his successive columns have read like a broken record on the subject. Well, Simon isn't any kind of Conservative I recognise. We care. Simon is too impressed with Gordon Brown, and himself, for that.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
This is the press release:
PLANS FOR £120M REGENERATION OF WICKFORD WELCOMED BY COUNCIL LEADER
Ambitious plans for the multi-million pound regeneration of Wickford town centre have moved a step closer.
A planning application for the first phase of the £120m scheme has been submitted by Basildon Council, along with the developers Family Mosaic.
The proposals could see the development of 48 new homes, along with a new swimming pool, health centre, library and public square in Market Avenue and Market Road.
Council leader, Malcolm Buckley, welcomed the blueprint, saying it would breathe new life into the town.
“This is the next stage in our plans to regenerate Wickford town centre and instil a new pride in the town.
“If they are approved, the plans will provide new high quality homes for local people and better access to modern health, leisure and community facilities.
“This is an exciting opportunity to meet the aspirations of Wickford residents for better homes, shops and public services.
“We are delighted that the plans are on the table and will be considering them through our normal planning process.”
Under the plans, 48 new homes could be developed on the former sheltered housing scheme at Willow Court.
Wickford health centre could also be transformed into a modern clinic with specialist
The blueprint includes further plans to redevelop Wickford swimming pool on its existing site, build a new library and create a public square.
Local residents are being invited to have their say on the plans during two forthcoming consultation events.
They are taking place on 22 and 29 September in Wickford Community Centre from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
General Jackson's book is being serialised in the Telegraph, and I look forward to reading the bits where he agreed that disbanding infantry battalions while the army was fighting two wars was a good idea or where he allowed the army's transport helicopter support to shrink down to the current derisory level. Maybe he can explain why our troops are still using landrovers that were designed for Northern Ireland in Iraq and Afghanistan when those vehicles offer almost no protection against modern weapons.
Rumsfeld was certainly incompetent, but he wasn't the only one.