Wednesday, 26 April 2006


I wonder if you can guess who said these words:

"They are up to their necks in sleaze. Can you believe that this lot is in charge? Morality is measured in more than just money. It's about right and wrong. We are a party of principle. We will earn the trust of the British people. We've had enough lies. Enough sleaze."

That's right - John Prescott in his 1996 Labour Conference speech. The stench of hyprocrisy is overpowering and if this is another of those dreadful New Labour attempts to drown out their own worse news (Charles Clarke and the vanishing criminals), it will not work.

It is only inevitable that they should evolve from finding opportunities to "bury bad news" to actually doing the burying.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

What else can the Home Office possibly be for?

This government has been vain, incompetent, deceitful, pernicious, sleazy and shallow but never have we seen quite such a scandal define EVERYTHING that is wrong.

That 1023 foreign criminals were permitted access to this country highlights the Government's astonishing disregard for the security of our borders.

That they will inevitably have committed crime in this country highlights the government's neutering of our police force.

That they passed through our courts and received recommendations for deportation without action highlights our Government's lax and toothless legal system.

And that they have since been released to roam our streets and continue to perpetrate crime says quite literally everything you need to know about the priorities of our Government. You, the honest, decent, law abiding, hard working, community minded "citizen" come a very poor last.

The Home Office, and its various agencies, exists only to protect society from those who would do it harm. In this one incident, every single aspect of its purpose has unambiguously failed.

I am sorry that dear old Charles Clarke must carry the can, but carry it he must. I hope he feels free to take with him the Permanent Secretary, and any number of staggeringly incompetent civil servants, who are more directly responsible for this disgrace, and who otherwise will collect a very healthy tax funded pension for their indescribably paultry efforts.

No doubt we will discover that at the heart of this outrage lies the Human Rights Act, the very same Act that was put on the statute books by those now wriggling so hard and which has left us at the mercy of those most offensive to civil society.

I continue to despise this Government.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

10 good reasons to vote...for me

My final leaflet has gone to the printers today and will be distributed next week in the run up to polling day.
Here is a sneak preview! Click on the image to enlarge.

YOUTH. Richard believes that our communities and the police must work together confidently to prevent and solve the problems of anti social behaviour. Preventing dereliction and providing better youth and community facilities is crucial to that process. Richard thinks that we can achieve here in Buckden (left) what Catworth (right) has achieved. He has presented an outline plan to the VHT and has offered to do the work.

ROADS. Richard understands that the A1 has a strong dominance on many of our lives. Highways is mainly a County Council matter but he especially wants to help our County Councillor and the residents of Diddington and Southoe achieve the necessary alterations to their A1 junctions so that they are safe both for them and for all users of this essential road. He is also already helping to reduce the problems of speeding along the length of Mill Road.

PLANNING. Richard knows how strongly how people feel about planning matters, such as protecting the village envelope and providing affordable housing. Richard believes that if development is wanted and needed, it must be properly designed, communicated and consulted, must offer real benefits to the village and must be fully planned to ensure that supporting infrastructure and local services are accounted for.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Happy Easter

We're off to spend the day with my 88 yr old grandmother in Oxford.
I shall be back on the campaign and blogging trail on Tues.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Conservatives blog

I am delighted to host a link to the Inaugural Conservative Movement Awards which have been launched by Tim Montgomerie, Editor of Conservative Home.

More generally Tim and Conservative Home are to be recommended and congratulated for their ambition in leading the use of blogs and the net to spread valuable political debate. The other parties trail pathetically in his wake.

Monday, 10 April 2006

His kinda people

Hands up who'd like Ken Livingstone to stay in Beijing?

In Touch (Side Two)

In Touch (Side One)

My latest campaign leaflet has been delivered in my Ward (almost). Click on the image to enlarge and read.

Sunday, 9 April 2006

Were all doomed!! Still!

Sorry to continue my environmental theme (albeit my son Jasper has no problems - we talk endlessly about all the things we should be doing) but I have just read this article in the Telegraph and needed to comment. To be honest I am getting as sick of the constant anti-environmental articles in the Telegraph as the Diana stories in the Express, but that is another matter.

The article is all about the perfectly reasonable belief that in fact global warming and cooling is perfectly natural and has been going on for years. All very proper and correct. The author's conclusion is that "global warming" is probably a politically manufactured catastrophe created for some dodgy purpose.

The most peculiar thing about this article is that nowhere does it mention the words "ozone layer". Not once does it examine the impact of the damage CO2 emissions HAVE done to this crucial protection. I'll come back to that.

At this point, I draw comparisons with the Iraq War. There were perfectly good reasons for going to war and toppling Saddam but to the politicians promoting the cause, they just didn't amount to enough. So they manufactured the whole WMD idea to frighten us out of our socks.
I never believed it for a moment, and consequently hate the fact that we went to war on that basis. Odd though it may seem, I would have prefered to have known that UK forces were being used in a raid solely to topple Saddam's regime. After all attacking your own people with mustard gas is good enough reason in my book to exclude you from government. [And if Mugabe kills any more of his countrymen, black or white, I would be happy to see him removed too.]

Anyway, the point is this. Global warming may well be a false argument harnessed by Govenments across the world to galvanise action. But its loss as an argument should do nothing to dampen desire for a green revolution. There are still good enough reasons to do it.

First, the fact that there are now massive holes in the protective ozone screen above us should be as horrifying as any prospect of global warming. Exposure to the damaging aspects of the sun's energy spells a painful death for any who ignore it. How much of an increase in skin cancer deaths do we accept before we take notice? When I was a child, I never bought or wore sun cream unless we were going abroad. Now I burn badly if I fail to wear it whilst mowing the lawn in my own garden.

Then of course there is the real reason we should be doing something green. The black stuff IS GOING TO RUN OUT. Opinions vary over exactly when. Some say we have 30 years supply left at current usage, others say 50. Nowhere can I find a serious prediction of over 60 years. I'm only 35. This means that it is going to happen in my lifetime (that is if the ozone impact doesn't get me first.)

As I said in my last post, just contemplate for a moment the impact to your life if the tap runs dry right this very second. It doesn't bear thinking about. We would effectively return to Victorian times in a trice. Exactly why is it so ridiculous to start preparing for the post oil period? Why should anyone need any more excuse than that to make a start on finding the range of alternatives needed to replace black gold?

Oh and don't just shout Nuclear at me. You may wonder just how violent the world is going to get when we start competing for those last 5 million barrels of oil. How delightful it will be to replace those battles with ones concerning the right to have nuclear energy, such as we are seeing in Iran today.

It will be cheaper by far, in the long run, to invest in becoming energy self sufficient than it will be to pump billions into the military expeditions required to cling on to the supply routes for oil.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

Nearly there. Once more please, Sir.

I do apologise but they don't like your answer - can you try again please.

Ever such a cunning ruse by Mr Pierre Mandelson.

This "keep voting till you get it right" approach to the EU Constitution is the very thing to get people like me jumping up and down and demanding that the Tories commit to pulling us out of Europe for good.

It is Cameron's and the Tories' weak spot you see and, oh look, they are tweaking our nipples and provoking in-fighting just ahead of local elections.

Walk away, boys and girls, he's not worth it!

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

No time to give up, Iain. Time to get revolutionary.

I am grateful indeed for the time Iain Dale spent reading and commenting on my renewable energy post, but the result is simply to drive me on to make the case more strongly.

Iain is partly right. We have thrown an amount of money at the problem – but that’s all we’ve done, and like so many other problems this Govt has tackled, throwing money DOESN’T WORK. What the Govt have not done is encourage a market that makes sense of that investment and drives it on to advance the technology until it becomes universal.

Let’s put to rest Iain’s primary argument – that wind power cannot make any impact on our CO2 emissions. The fact of the matter is simple, if I place two houses side by side, one fuelled by domestic oil and the other by a domestic wind turbine, funnily enough the wind powered house WILL EMIT LESS CO2.

If I have two villages and one is powered by the oil and coal fired national grid and the other is powered by a neatly concealed biomass plant, the renewable energy village WILL EMIT LESS CO2.

If I have two cars sitting side by side and one is fuelled by petrol and the other by bio-diesel or hydrogen fuel, the renewable energy powered car WILL EMIT LESS CO2.

These are irrefutable facts. The issue is simply about scale.

The question we must ask, and this is where Iain and I part company, is not ‘Will the technology work?’ (Iain) But ‘How do we make the technology work?’ (Richard). Iain argues that you cannot achieve the scale to make the contribution worthwhile, but I argue that the contribution is undeniable and that we haven’t even tried to achieve the scale.

I’m picking on Iain a bit here, but his attitude is defeatist and arrogant. He says we have tried, it didn’t work, so we’ll stop and give up. It is rather like suggesting that when the first bloke built a computer the size of a house, everyone thought “Give it up mate, that’ll never work. It costs too much and look, it’s huge.” Or when Clive Sinclair brought out his fabulous ZX Spectrum which could just about make a small blob bounce across the screen, everyone thought “This’ll never catch on. What are these things ever going to do for us?” The initial investments and outlays are comparable. The difference is that the market place dragged computers forward.

So how do we get the renewable energy off the ground (and renewable energy does not simply equal wind):

1. Start with cars. The vast majority of drivers would actively and immediately seek to change their cars if they saw biodiesel for sale beside their unleaded for 15p a litre. The Govt must just get it there and the market will start lifting. The revenue raised by those prepared to take the hit in their car's performance will drive the technology forward to create cars that perform better. There is a 'way', you just the need the economically driven 'will'.

2. Next our houses. If big wind turbines were accompanied by free power for those in their wake, opposition would evaporate thus allowing more to be built and more power to be generated. Then we would start to make wind power a net contributor. People would excuse them willingly and the phrase “they’re much better than those hideous pylon lines” would spring into common parlance.

3. Biomass energy stations can be introduced to the mix so easily and be discretely placed on the outskirts of most small towns and landscaped the same way as waste treatment plants for example. Agriculture would get a great boost by having an energy market to feed and again those receiving such renewable energy would have it at a very much reduced rate.

4. Once you’ve started this process, the money will start to feed back and drive the technology towards smaller domestic wind turbines, which can become no more or less a part of our lives than our satellite dishes. It is quite possible that a few big turbines would be replaced by lots of smaller ones over time. Big turbines could have 10 year licenses to ensure that their existence was continually questioned and reviewed. They can be taken down as well, you know!

The Govt has to incentive and penalize. You reduce the cost of renewable energy so that it becomes irresistible (and everyone has their price) and you raise the cost of fossil fuels so that they are painful. Faced with the choice of wiping 2/3rds off my combined car and home fuel bills or increasing it by 2/3rds – well I know what I and millions of other people are doing.

Indeed, none of this is costed and sure it will cost money. I do however point out that any subsidising you make to get the market off the ground can be weaned out within 10 years. So lets think, spend billions on a pointless and illegal war designed to increase our dependence on oil or spend billions replacing oil? Spend billions giving me a second passport, or spend billions subsidising renewable energy and reducing my living costs? It’s a toughie!

Last brief point. Many finally argue that our efforts are pointless whilst the rest of the world belch out fumes in pursuit of either world dominance (USA) or national development (China). Sure, in 2006 our efforts would be entirely self serving and fairly inconsequential on a global scale. But the advances in technology made here serving our market would be very quickly exported to these developing and developed countries once they realised how bloody simple it all is and how much cost can be wiped off the price of development. China and India are not stupid, they just can’t afford to be clean in their perfectly acceptable race to catch us up industrially. If we do the donkey work and bring the technology into a favourable price bracket they will happily install it. Oh and guess who gets the contracts – that right, us.

Please lets stop being so defeatist. Going renewable will be no greater a step that covering our beautiful landscapes in 100ft steel pylons and in fact can probably be done much more sympathetically.

Just remember – oil will run out one day soon (probably within the next 100 years, i.e. probably within my children’s lifetime). This is also an irrefutable fact. That fact that we will almost certainly fight the 3rd World War over the final supplies is incidental.

Just contemplate for one brief moment what actual impact to your daily life would occur if the oil tap were to dry up RIGHT NOW. This is not the moment to give up – it is the moment to become revolutionary.

Life begins at 40.

Many congratulations to my darling wife, Lara, on making to it to 40. It is an amazing achievement considering all she has been through. The privations of sanctions during her childhood in South Africa, a mother who persuaded her away from her chosen career route, meeting me and falling in love, tolerating the Army and then bringing two small boys into the world and meeting their every need (and mine) without complaint (sort of) and with an eternal stamina and love.

You are probably wondering by now what on earth I talking about. That is certainly no way to greet you wife’s 40th birthday. But of course, I’m not.

The 40 I refer to is the magic number of deliveries which must be reached before she can qualify as a fully trained midwife. The end of a long four years study, determinedly commenced, determinedly maintained and excellently fulfilled, draws near.

Watching someone you love find their natural professional home is a pleasure and a joy. She has taken to it so easily and works so hard to do it as perfectly as she can. She does 10 hours on her feet without so much as a cup of tea on some days but still comes home happy and fulfilled.

There is a little less time for us boys now, but we are all hugely proud of what she is achieving and are in awe of the determination with which she has done it. Well done, sweetheart.

"Be wicked, act shamelessly.”

Thus words from the Liberal Democrat electioneering handbook of 2003.

Well they have followed their own advice in producing a new 2006 version which the Tories have today condemned. Liberal Democrats in local elections in 2006 are urged to:

“…proceed pied piper like round the Estate doling out badges and sweeties and leaflets.”

Now I am not averse to using my own children to help deliver leaflets but the whole concept of rounding up strange children on a housing estate and bribing them to help you is vile. It is possibly at bit much to suggest that it is deliberately leading children astray but it is hardly responsible to advocate luring children into activity on the basis of accepting sweets from a stranger. At any rate, I suspect your going to need a darn sight more than toffees to persuade today’s kids to do anything these days!

The Lib Dems take being out of touch into an art form!

“Fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”

The Tories reserve their strongest words of the day for UKIP, the self appointed “respectable” party of the hard right. These are people who have singularly resisted the various charms of successive Tory leaders to urge the Party into being a little more reasonable and realistic. They have been given a real boost by the advent of David Cameron who is testing resolve like no other. They have been described by some as “the BNP for the Posh”.

UKIP have clearly concluded that if they, UKIP, can make enough noise and threaten the Tories enough electorally, they, The Tories, will come rushing back to the Right and start banging all those offensive drums again.

Thankfully we have joined the rest of the population in 2006 and realise that leading the country today requires rather more than lighting daily candles at Lady Thatcher’s alter, rebuilding the gun emplacements around the coast of East Anglia and deporting anyone we don’t like. Leading Britain today means understanding and responding to Britain as it is today. It is about time these people understood that Britain is as it is today because Thatcherism happened, not because Thatcherism stopped.

The great irony is, of course, that by doing what they are doing, they are actually advancing the very things they most want to prevent, EU integration, ID cards, unfettered immigration etc. If UKIP had just voted Tory at the last election, New Labour would have 30 fewer seats and an unmanageable majority of just 21 and the landscape would be looking very different. Not an ounce of political sense between them. Just those most attractive of qualities – belligerence and dogmatism.

Sadly however, Cameron was misguided to mock them in this way. It’s been tried before and it didn’t work then. The Party has a little more changing to do before those particular stones make it out of our glasshouse without the sound of shattering.