Friday, 29 September 2006

Hands off our Hospital

Hat-tip: Image from Hunts Post

Huntingdon's Hinchingbrooke Hospital is under threat. Sign our online petition here.

It has been said that the threat to Hinchingbrooke Hospital should not be allowed to become a 'political issue'. This County’s predominant Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians will work unwaveringly together to defend our hospital but, whilst a laudable sentiment, this situation is profoundly political and for one very good reason. We have all paid ever increasing levels of tax and contributed to astonishing levels of health spending, so it is now our duty to demand and claim the service that we have paid for.

Please join the march on Saturday 7th October at 10.30 in Huntingdon and make your presence count.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Round Wheels are best

The Government have decided to reinvent the wheel, only they've made in square and they are asking the Police to flog it to us.

Policing is and always has been a community activity. Policemen living among us, knowing who is who and what is what. Local, authoritative, visible police keeping on top of their communities. It worked for centuries.

Now our police announce a brand new initiative - Neighbourhood policing. Only instead of spending their money increasing police numbers and putting them back into our communities, this contrived version holds quarterly meetings with the public asking them where the problems are and what the priorities should be. At this meeting they even asked a working group to stay behind and help them work out how to deal with the priorities.

The lack of leadership and authority is depressing. I for one want a police force that knows the people, knows the ground, knows the issues and knows what to do about them.

These two cuttings from this weeks local paper pretty much say the rest. My comments, terse as they are, are on the second image.

Favourite Frasier lines 1#

Daphne - "Well it is not like men have never used sex to get what they want."

Frasier - "How can men possibly USE sex to get what they want. Sex IS what they want!!!"

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

More Relish

Note to David Cameron:

In the year that you have been Leader, I have supported you unwaveringly. I have fought your corner countless times Conservative Home's "complaints section" and I have even tolerated your charitable employment of Mad Maude.

You have spent an outstanding year transforming the perception of our party. Many people of a neutral or even centre-left persuasion are listening to you and us now, and with every word that Heffer and Tebbit utter, more people are convinced of that change. You have aplogised for the most obvious and serious of your predecessors mistakes, you have dragged the Party into the 21st century and you have made surprising new friends.

However, this time next week that phase of your strategy must come to an end. This time next week you must lead out into a year or more of unbridled and unrelenting opposition. You must expose the shallow grave of New Labour's legacy and condemn any thoughts of Labour's second chance. People are now ready to hear and understand William's prophetic 2001 election slogan "You paid the taxes, so where's the service."

You must expose the degradation of our society, the chaos of our public services and the collapse of our vandalised constitution. You must lead a united and committed shadow team and you must dispense with any who have become conceited or perhaps simply too comfortable in their tea-room chair. [Word to the wise: Osbourne isn't cutting it.]

Tactically, it may be too soon to announce your policies, but with a Government in freefall, a Prime Minister on a farewell tour and a Leadership contest underway, you have the advantage of some shooting practice in advance of the main event. It is time to get your eye in with some live bait and if you don't take this opportunity I will lead the search for someone who will.

Monday, 25 September 2006

A happy Jock is a whingeing Jock

Point by point, phrase by phrase, I could pull Mr Brown and his awesome speech apart. But I have better things to do.

Brown's speech was remarkable for many reasons. Foremost among them was his devastating analysis of his own failure. Every one of his manifesto policies (for that is exactly what they were) do nothing but rectify his own mistakes. Hardly surprising I suppose. The defining feature of this Government has always been its tactic of causing a mess and then demanding pocket money for cleaning it up.

No matter how hard he tries to pretend that he has had nothing to do with the last ten years, he remains its most prominent author. You would have thought that he'd have realised that with everyone of the heartfelt mentions of today's social ills, he ploughed another bullet into his foot.

To everyone who was listening, he revealed the true Brown - the one who vastly prefers the pleasure of complaining, the endless battle of opposition and the pulpit frisson of "fighting the good fight" to the harsh realities of government and actually solving the problems. It was a "one hand, one bounce" speech. It was the premeditated squawk of a small child pleading not to be given out first ball.

It was a speech worthy of the Labour Party Conference in 1996. Trouble is that after ten years in office, a decade to make a difference, this hour long speech was devoted to mourning his own failure.

The other aspect missed by all others was Mr Brown's very obvious firing of the starting gun in the impending leadership race. Everyone hails a speech by a future Prime Minister, even though apparently no such vacancy exists. The speech was treacherous and should have sparked all manner of in fighting. It would be serious if it weren't for the fact that Mr Brown simultaneously fired the gun and staged a false start. If you were one of Gordon's adversary's tonight, you'd be pretty naffed off.

By all accounts, the next General Election is going to be a bit heavy on the relish!

Mr Broon

There is no more frightening sight in British politics than a smiling Mr Brown on a charm offensive.
The real fight for the British political soul starts today; and it is a fight that we cannot afford to lose.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Beat the BBC

I thought I would complete my thoughts on Top Gear with a simple message of defiance.
This article by Jeremy Clarkson is frankly frightening in the way it reveals the deep seated hatred within the BBC.

If the BBC were to win this battle and force Top Gear off air, I will refuse to pay my TV Tax, sorry Licence Fee.

Wonderful Darren Clarke

Only miserable news reporting by ITN has marred what has been a fantastic 3 days of golf.

(The European Team dressed to collect their trophy in the resplendent pink of a Breast Cancer charity and thus in honour of Heather Clarke, recently deceased wife of the victorious Darren Clarke, and the ITN reporter describes it as a "dubious choice of colour for their jackets...".)

In what is the epitomy of individual sports, the Ryder Cup offers the most amazing spectacle. Suddenly, what appear to be deeply selfish and driven sportsmen are thrown together to win or lose as a team, and to be honest, only the Europeans looked as though they meant it.

So many names to congratulate. Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Colin Montgomerie all played fabulously well. The Irish contingent had a good week on home turf. Harrington average, McGinley terrific. But Darren Clarke was quite simply sublime.

This is his Ryder Cup, and it is a tale of tragedy and amazing strength of character. Having lost his wife to cancer just a month ago, he displayed huge talent to remain undefeated in all his matches. He was carried by the enormous support of the partisan Irish crowd but he delivered through skill rather than sympathy.

I watched the end in tears of admiration for his courage and determination. It was very moving to see someone receive such genuine displays of love and appreciation from teammates and adversaries alike. I am certain, however, that whatever the wonders of winning the Cup, he would give it all up to have his wife back.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Top Programme

I am happy to put on record that I adore Top Gear. No matter how much people try to besmirch its outstanding performance under Clarkson's guidance, it remains one of the few shows that I will run dash home to watch.

It is a wonder that the BBC host it. They clearly wish they didn't but their money-men win the day. It is so successful that the BBC has no choice but to hold its nose and press play. This article on the BBC website sums up why I like it.

What Clarkson, Hammond and May appreciate is that we all sit in our cars driving around at 15mph fantasising about what would happen if...They know that we see cars on the road that inspire ridicule and derision. They know that we compare and contrast and they know that we judge.

So they do it for us in glorious technicolour. They tell us when cars are average, what it feels like to drive with the needle off the scale, and just how far you can actually push a vehicle on four wheels. They tell it how it is, they live our fantasies, they have the fun we dream about when we are stuck in another traffic jam on the M25.

I loved their attempt to destroy a Toyota pick-up, their contests between cars and Apaches/Tanks/Infantry/bobsleigh's/skateboarders/pony tailed climber dudes. I cheer everytime a caravan dies. Most of all I enjoyed the moment when Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister for Transport, left Clarkson with nowhere to go -

Clarkson - "These speed cameras are just a cynical method of raising revenue aren't they?"
Ladyman - "Listen, Jeremy, we paint them yellow, we put up huge signs to warn you where they are, we even publish maps with them marked up. If you are still getting caught by speed cameras, there really is only one person to blame."
Clarkson - "Yeh, you've got a point. Moving was your lap in our reasonably priced car?"

While their are boys with cars and TV's, there will always be a need for Top Gear (whatever the Health and Safety Executive may say).

UPDATE: I am thrilled that the above mentioned Minister has come out in public support of the programme. Well, done you Stephen. (Not so sure about your "car booster seat" legislation though!!)

Living life on the edge

Best wishes to Richard Hammond for a successful and speedy recovery.
If he puts into surviving even half the energy he puts into living, he'll be back up and running in a couple of weeks. There can be few people who love life so evidently as he.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Save Hinchingbrooke Hospital

I am 35 and as yet I have never been on a protest march. I very nearly went on the Countryside March in London but something happened. I have marshalled a few in Northern Ireland, however!

Anyway, on 7 October I shall lose my protest march virginity and I shall march in Huntingdon to save our hospital from closure.

I do so with one clear aim in mind - to help focus people's minds on the fact that this present New Labour Government have squandered, lost and criminally mis-spent inconceivable quantities of taxpayers money.

Health spending over the last decade has doubled at least and lest we forget, is as high as it has ever been. SO WHY THE F**K IS OUR HOSPITAL UNDER THREAT? HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY SPEND ALL THAT MONEY AND STILL HAVE TO CUT SERVICES AND CLOSE HOSPITALS?

The most amazing irony is that Hinchingbrooke Hospital was built by the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and is now threatened with closure under Blair and Brown's Labour! What sort of a world do we live in when a socialist party can't even get state services right.

The Save Hinchingbrooke Hospital March is on 7th October 2006 at 11:30. The assembly point will be Riverside Park; we walk up Riverside Road then along the High Street, George Street, Brampton Road to the Hospital where the route ends with speakers to address the rally.

I'll have my say in public too if I get half a chance.

Be there too, please.

P.S. Sorry, I should off course register my interest. My wife Lara works there as a midwife.

The Morning Rant

A new daily viewspaper on the blogosphere....

Corruption in football is of not of the slightest importance to Government and the Minister should not waste another ounce of breathe or time concerning himself with it. The people for whom this is a matter of concern are the football fans who ultimately fund it all. So the real answer to stopping this, is for the fans to stop paying ludicrous prices to see and wear football. Make these overpaid tossers play in silence to empty grandstands for the month of November and they will soon get the message.

Can someone please tell me what exactly is wrong with having to sell your home when you move into care and why it should be a matter of concern that the proceeds would pay for that care? It occurs to me that this situation exists because increasingly children do not look after their parents. So someone has to and that someone must be paid. What you do not do for yourself, you must pay for - that is called choice, and no, it is not the responsibility of the state to spoon feed everyone. So either let your parents pay for their own care to whatever standard they choose through whatever means they have and accept the fact that your inheritance is spent - or do it yourself and keep the cash. Simple really.

I am frankly disappointed by the Tories new logo. I loved the tree idea, especially a detailed tree that looked like an Oak. It carries such immediate ideas of stability, protection, environmental stewardship, growth. I also loved that it had been selected and designed by the blogosphere community, the freshest and most vibrant political body in existence in this country today. Sadly, however, instead of just going with the idea and thus cementing their relationship with these people, Cameron and 'Mad' Maude had to give it to a pricey consultant who completely lost the plot. At the very moment when everything about you must scream detail, clarity and distinctiveness, we Tories create a shoddy scribble that seems to say "oh that'll do!". Well it won't. Your policies need detail and so does your logo. Please sack 'mad' Maude. He is like an embarrassing Dad trying to dance at your school disco. He is trying too hard to be cool, and getting it all hopelessly wrong.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Reaping what you sow

Some small part of me (well, maybe not so small) genuinely hopes that Mrs Bliar is spitting mad at being investigated by the police for "motioning to slap" a 17 yr old lad who made bunny ears behind her.

That a couple of Scottish officials from the Child Protection in Sport Unit (or 'political correctness police' as such people are more commonly known) reported her to the real police is true justice.

I hope she is storming round Chequers, seething with anger. What could Tony possibly say to calm her down??!!

All good things....

...come to those who wait.

I am well aware that family, work, politics and cricket have been getting in the way of quality blogging these past few months but thankfully the immense Iain Dale has still found room for me at Number 29 in his Top 100 Tory Blogs.

The weight of expectation bears down upon my shoulders but I promise to deprive my family of more of my time so that you can enjoy more of my poorly spelt ramblings.

Actually, it won't have to quite so harsh. My wife, the newly appointed Mrs Lara Bailey BA (Hons) Midwifery RM, finally starts work at the ill-fated Hinchingbrooke Hospital (another story) next week, so I will be able to blog without guilt when she is pulling babies out on a late shift!! When she is on a night shift, I won't even have to go to bed. I can just blog until I fall asleep in my chair!!!

Monday, 11 September 2006

The Chancellor's Lament

Labour have proved themselves incapable of organising pretty much everything and cost us all a pretty penny in the process. Now, to really underline their ineptitude, they are making a dog's breakfast of a fairly simple operation to depose a weak and discredited has-been.

It beggars's belief that anyone should want Brown as their Prime Minister after last week's performance. Such spinelessness and cowardice and indecision. Such a complete lack of authority and belief. The Prime Minister can even leave the country for a week and still he dithers.

Brown's chances of the premiership fade with everyday that passes and you sense that he knows it. He has almost always been destined to return to Scotland empty handed. Poems and long droning bagpipe piobroch's (laments) will be written in his honour and his legend will be passed down throught the generations in the magnificent Kingdom of Fife.

Brown's most natural and effective role - that of morose, penny pinching, monastic chancellor - has been displayed so long and with such personal conviction, that no amount of smiling and cheerleading can now turn him into the People's Champion. He will undoubtedly thrash and writhe a little more but he has entered the politically treacherous waters of the Corryvreckan, and with every choreographed smile and hateful, half-hearted coup attempt, he whirls closer to his own agonising demise.

Worry not, you Scots, however. Every cloud has a silver lining. He shall have his booby prize. Holyrood becons and with it the warped joy of bearing a grudge to his dying day and making life hell for Prime Ministers to come.