Machine politics alive and well at Greenwich council

Save Our ShopsPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

Last night’s Greenwich council meeting started, appropriately enough, with the Mayor Angela Cornforth announcing that she had turned down a request for the meeting to be filmed.  This comes despite government guidance to the contrary, and despite the main issue on the agenda – the council’s new Pavement Tax on local traders – being one that has probably generated more controversy and public interest than any other in the last year.

After sitting through the meeting that followed in the public gallery, it is little wonder why the Royal Borough’s Labour Mayor – also in the running to be Labour’s new prospective MP for Greenwich & Woolwich – did not want the ruling Labour group’s actions to be filmed yesterday evening. Continue reading Machine politics alive and well at Greenwich council

Launching our new campaign to Mend The Mound

Mend The MoundPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks, and this post in part explains why!  Today we are launching a new campaign on behalf of Coldharbour residents called Mend The Mound – with a petition to force the council to take long-overdue action to regenerate the local shops.

Over the last couple of months, Cllr John Hills, Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst and I have been conducting a survey across the Coldharbour.  Continue reading Launching our new campaign to Mend The Mound

Five thoughts from the Party Conferences

David Cameron's speechPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

This year was the first Conservative Party conference I’ve been able to get to since 2009 – and I was pleased to be there for an encouraging week.  As I tweeted on Wednesday, I left Manchester even more determined than I entered it – and I suspect I was far from the only delegate to feel the same.

Now that the dust has settled on the Party Conferences (and I’ve had a chance to sleep mine off), here are my top five reflections on this year’s conference season. Continue reading Five thoughts from the Party Conferences

Paul Dacre has done more than just shoot himself in the foot

newspapersPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

There are three groups of people who have a right to be angry, to varying degrees, at the Daily Mail’s unwarranted attack on Ralph Miliband last weekend.  Number one, and of course most importantly, is the Miliband family.  Ed Miliband is behaving entirely properly in defending his father’s reputation and demanding an apology and retraction.  Any son would do the same. Continue reading Paul Dacre has done more than just shoot himself in the foot

Small businesses don’t deserve this Pavement Tax

Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.
I’m writing this, after a busy few weeks away from the blog, on the train up to #cpc13 in Manchester – the first chance I’ve had to commit words to screen since Thursday’s public meeting on Labour’s new Pavement Tax in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
 
Supporting small businesses are three words guaranteed to get a good airing in Manchester this week – and it was curious to hear these same words bandied about a fair bit by Ed Miliband last week at the Labour Party gathering in Brighton.  In Ed’s case, his warm words about cutting business rates sound pretty hollow here in Greenwich, where his own Labour council has introduced a punitive new charge on local traders who use the pavement outside their shops.  Think grocers, florists, cafes – and in actual fact almost every type of business that is being hit by this Pavement Tax at a time when many are struggling and need support. Continue reading Small businesses don’t deserve this Pavement Tax

Character matters

David Cameron and Ed MilibandPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

As the dust continues to hang in the air after Thursday’s Syria vote, a few commentators are starting to wonder whether Ed Miliband’s “victory” was a Pyrrhic one.

The Sunday Telegraph reports privately-voiced concerns in Labour ranks that its Leader made a “catastrophic mistake” by engineering the defeat of the government motion, which No 10 had bent over backwards to accommodate him over. Continue reading Character matters

What kind of nation are we?

Houses of ParliamentPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

Nick Clegg got it right when he summed up the fundamental question that the House of Commons was given the opportunity to answer in last night’s Syria vote – “what kind of nation are we?”.  Like many people, I am shocked and appalled at the answer that our Members of Parliament have given.

Continue reading What kind of nation are we?

Watergate, this ain’t

Heathrow AirportPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

The coverage this week of the stopping of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act is getting thoroughly tedious.  He was carrying stolen national security information.  He was stopped by the security services.  Isn’t this exactly what is supposed to happen?  Dan Hodges hits the nail on the head – why does being a relative of Glenn Greenwald place you above the law? Continue reading Watergate, this ain’t

If the Labour Party really wants to help tackle the cost of living, it needs to reach for the F-word

Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

This year, the summer months might defy the trend and be remembered for more than the usual silly season stories.  The steady drip of encouraging – even exciting –  news on the economy in the last few weeks has brought with it signs of a welcome burst of optimism about the future.

With growth up (and spreading to the regions), house prices climbing and unemployment continuing to fall, Labour’s economic critique is being taken apart piece by piece (“its hurting but it isn’t working”, anyone?) – which explains their recent attempts to shift the terms of debate to the cost of living.  YouGov’s Peter Kellner puts it eloquently today – the 2015 General Election is turning into a clash between two big economic narratives: “national cheer” vs “personal pain”. Continue reading If the Labour Party really wants to help tackle the cost of living, it needs to reach for the F-word

Twitter finally finds the right tone

Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

Last week I argued that Twitter UK had got its response to its trolling/abuse/threats crisis all wrong, and that it should have held its hands up straight away and taken immediate action to roll out its existing ‘report abuse’ button to all platforms.

Yesterday the company finally found the right tone.  In a statement starting with “It comes down to this: people deserve to feel safe on Twitter”, it promises an all-platform ‘report abuse’ button from next month, improved rules and a new partnership with the UK Safer Internet Centre including free promotion through its promoted tweets advertising system. Continue reading Twitter finally finds the right tone