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

Why council meetings should be streamed online

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

As a candidate in the Royal Borough of Greenwich council elections next year, I’m making it my business to pop along to council meetings to sit in the public gallery – which is where I was last night for a three-and-a-half hour sitting that as usual, was pretty disheartening stuff.

Labour’s tactics in silencing debate on two opposition motions put forward by the Conservative group were nothing short of a disgrace. Continue reading Why council meetings should be streamed online

What’s taking Twitter so long?

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

A few weeks ago I chose a case study for an essay I’m writing on how organisations should communicate in crisis situations.  I should have waited a few weeks.  Twitter’s disastrous handling of the vile trolling of banknote campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez is a lesson in how not to do it.

The hateful messages that Criado-Perez received sparked an angry backlash from Twitter users, demanding the addition of a ‘report abuse’ button for every tweet on the platform.  That was three days ago.  Twitter UK’s first response, from Tony Wang was straightforward but woefully lacking: the company was “testing ways to simplify reporting” of abuse. Continue reading What’s taking Twitter so long?

Two news stories worth thinking about on a sunny Monday

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

Two news stories in the Evening Standard tonight struck me, on the sweltering Jubilee Line, as having something quite remarkable in common.

The first is that of little-known paparazzi photographer Jesal Parshotam, who this morning saw the Duchess of Cambridge sneak into St Mary’s Hospital at around 5.55am.  As the Standard reports, he said that he and his colleague “decided in advance we were not going to take a photo of her.  I made that decision – she’s a woman in labour…. To take a picture of her would have been over stepping the mark.”

Continue reading Two news stories worth thinking about on a sunny Monday

Reforming the union political levy – time to go one further

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

Renewal

The launch of Renewal has made quite a splash today – a new group with an agenda of broadening the Conservatives’ appeal to working class, public sector and ethnic minority voters, particularly in the North of England.  Its launch pamphlet, Access All Areas (with contributions from many 2010 intake MPs) is well worth a read.

David Skelton makes a powerful case for why the new group is needed in the Telegraph, arguing that “by championing consumers and hard-working people, the Conservatives can become the new workers’ party”, reaching out to the working class voters long since abandoned by today’s Labour Party.  I couldn’t agree more. Continue reading Reforming the union political levy – time to go one further

The national interest demands all MPs vote to Let Britain Decide

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

No sooner have I started blogging than I have to leave this parish unattended for two weeks for a long-planned, long-awaited holiday to the Deep South.  It’s our first holiday in two years and we’re taking in Jackson, New Orleans, Birmingham, Nashville and Memphis.  It’s fair to say tomorrow’s 7.45am flight can’t come soon enough!

The trip means that as well as Wednesday’s Spending Review (and Wimbledon), I won’t be here for the second reading of James Wharton’s European Union (Referendum) Bill – a debate I wouldn’t otherwise have missed.

Continue reading The national interest demands all MPs vote to Let Britain Decide

Silent scandals and articles of faith

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

Yesterday saw some much-needed blunt talk from the Health Secretary in a speech on what he called the “silent scandal” of errors in the NHS, which led to the needless deaths of 3,000 patients last year.

Jeremy Hunt’s speech at the University College London Hospitals also highlighted the 326 so-called hospital “never events” – mistakes that are so inexcusable they should never happen – that occurred in just 12 months.  This alarming category of mistakes include things such as performing surgery on the wrong part of the body, leaving foreign objects inside the body after an operation and the misidentification of patients.

Continue reading Silent scandals and articles of faith

Do we want the private sector to contribute or not?

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

An interesting idea for investing in London’s infrastructure has been greeted with a chorus of cynicism this month – and in so doing has exposed a deep contradiction in attitudes towards the private sector’s obligations to the rest of us.

Untapped Resource, a report published by the GLA Conservative Group, makes a compelling case for private sponsorship of London Underground stations and lines.  No doubt with his eye on securing for this idea the media attention it deserves, the report’s author Gareth Bacon even came up with an eye-catching example of what it might mean for our treasured tube map.   Step forward, Burberry by Bond Street and Virgin Euston;

Continue reading Do we want the private sector to contribute or not?

Welcome to the blog

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

Welcome to my new blog – something I’ve been meaning to put together for quite some time.  As a comms professional I spend a lot of time writing – from tweets to newspaper articles and everything in between, including the odd blog post now and then.  It’s something I hugely enjoy.  Up until now, I’ve never taken the plunge of keeping a blog of my own, confining myself to Twitter.

Increasingly, however, I’m finding 140 characters far too limiting for what I would like to share – on politics, communications and other things that may come to mind from time to time.  I’m a member of the Conservative Party and a candidate for the 2014 local elections in Coldharbour & New Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.  I’m also involved in various other organisations, including the credit union movement – a subject I’m passionate about and one that is guaranteed to get a regular airing on these pages.

It should go without saying (but doesn’t, so I’ll say it) that none of the opinions expressed on this blog represent anyone’s views other than my own, and this blog is in no way associated with any organisation or group I am connected with.

Now that’s out of the way, on to the blogging…