Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hunts Post denies valid candidate a voice!

I see on Twitter that The Hunts Post is denying Lord Toby Jug a place on the stage for their special election debate. Why not. Didn't he beat Labour into last place at the County Elections in 2009! Looking at the Euro Vote if the loonies aren't allowed then Labour shouldn't be either. The Euro result was Conservative, UKIP, Liberal Democrats, Green, Labour. The Labour vote squeaked in just above the BNP.

If the Hunts Post is going to ditch candidates with no hope they should start with Anthea Cox. As Anthea has no hope of winning the Huntingdon Constituency.

I feel all the candidates should be invited and not discriminate against the loonies.

Is HDC interested at all in Freedom of Information?

I've been pursuing a Freedom of Information request on the secret car park meetings. Having been refused I appealed this initial decision, yet again. I say yet again because the use of the Freedom of Information seems to be a cat and mouse game of appeals to get to some of the information. Anyway, the Freedom of Information Team said on 12th March I would have a decision by the end of the month. 

The end of the month is here and no decision!

A copy of the e-mail:

fromFreedom Of Information Group 
date12 March 2010 14:12
subjectRE: Freedom of Information request 1157

12 Mar

Re: Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations – FOI and EIR Request No 1157.
I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the Authority under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations.

Please be advised that we have received your complaint and a review of your request has been organised. We will be in contact with you again by the end of March.

Kind regards
FOI Support Team
Huntingdonshire District Council

My comments on letters in The Hunts Post - 31/03/2010

It doesn't add up - Hanus Wolf is correct. What has happened is Conservative controlled HDC has moved you into SNTC. It s a pity that SNTC or EHPC didn't bother to inform residents of what was going on! Wouldn't it have been good for the annexed residents to get a welcome letter?

Against charges - Cllr Barry Chapman goes on the offensive. The open question I do have for Cllr Chapman is when was the Conservative petition presented? I can't find this at the 16th March Cabinet Meeting. Other minutes have yet to be issued.

Over the odds - Michael Van de Kerkhove is the right in having a go at the local Conservatives. Time and again we are being let down by the self styled "St Neots Conservative Councillors". He is also right to point out the potential cartel which arises from "local competition". I see Djanogly has gone missing on this subject.

The BIG Question isn't so Big

The Hunts Post wants to make this event organised by them on 22nd April 2010 at Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon the BIG Question. (Location here) This will be one of the few opportunities to question the candidates.

This will be the first time that electors can ask questions of Jonathan Djanogly about his expenses claims. Though this will be limited. As to the Big Question most of this will pass the Huntingdon Constituency by.
I hope the electors of St Neots take the opportunity to get to this debate to make our voices heard.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Local Elections have started - but you won't notice.

I thought I would look on the ever informative (NOT) HDC website to see the election timetable for the local elections. Yet again I found not much.
On the website it says in which wards local elections will be held. To find out the timetable information I googled "local election timetable 2010" and found the information on the Runnymede Borough Council website.
Looking at the Runnymede website there is more information other than the timetable. This Council is giving information on Standing as a Candidate, Notice of Election and Local Elections Nomination Packs. So how comes Huntingdonshire District Council doesn't do this?

Vince Cable is a clear winner???

On this website I found an article praising Vince Cable for his win at the Chancellors Debate on Channel 4 last night. On the front page I read that Vince won a "clear victory". So I was interested to guess what the percentages were.
I thought a clear victory would be 50% or more. I was disappointed to find this wasn't the case. Following the link I went to the next page.
I found the margin of the Vince Cable win was just 4%. 64% of the on-line poll went to the other "Chancellors". True it was Vince that got the most applause. But I don't know who was applauding. For all I know the Liberal Democrats were the ones clapping loudly.

I thought all were potential Chancellors were just a bad as each other in not answering the questions. Vince slightly better - maybe. But this statement praising Vince Cable by the Liberal Democrats is just hype and spin.

Djanogly and his expenses if re-elected

I've had a quick read through the ISPA publication on future MPs' expenses. Whilst there are many changes these don't necessarily apply to Djanogly if he get re-elected.

The first change I came across is about an MPs office. An MP will be restricted in the number of employees is 3.5. Read it again. MP plus 3.5 staff plus interns. So when people talk and write about our MP being "hard working" remember he 3.5 staff behind him doing most of the mundane work.
Also part of the reforms is the restriction so an MP can only employ one "connected party"or family member. As the electors don't know who works at his office this may or may not affect Djanogly.

We do know Djanogly employs interns, they will now have to be made with a standard contract by IPSA. As these aren't currently published 

The Constituency Office sees some changes with an allowance of £10,663 including utilities. As Djanogly rents his office from HCCA (currently £592 pm or £7,104 pa) there will need to be an independent valuation to ensure this is at market rates.

Second Home Expenses becomes very restrictive. Djanogly "owns" his luxury 5 floor semi in Little Venice, London and his second home situated in the Constituency. So he won't be getting any money for theseCleaning, Gardening, Furniture purchases or maintenance is were what most of Djanoglys' published claims were for. These have been banned from the new Parliament onwards.

If re-elected Djanogly won't be claiming much. Much of what he claimed for has been stopped. The reality is if Djanogly is re-elected he can put much of what has gone on behind him. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

2 Questions for the Elections on 6th May 2010

On the 6th May 2010 there is very likely to be a combined General Election and Local Elections.

The General Election
The political parties have decided the Huntingdon constituency is a safe Conservative seat and won't be doing much here. There is bigger constituencies to win elsewhere. So Huntingdon isn't on any target list.

The Conservatives will come up with the argument that winning Huntingdon is essential for a Cameron win. Huntingdon isn't essential for a Cameron win. Not winning in Huntingdon will mean Cameron will be a seat down. This is two down in a majority. The one question in the General Election is:

Do you want Djanogly to represent the Huntingdon constituency?

If the answer is YES then you are forgiving Djanogly for his part in the MPs' Expenses scandal.
If the answer is NO then great. Now choose which other candidate you will vote for. I'm voting for Ian Curtis, the UKIP candidate.
So lets vote to change Djanogly and the Conservative administration at HDC.

The Local Elections
There will be many facts, figures and promises made in these elections. Before you believe in any of them there is only one figure that you need to remember. This is £6.1 million - the size of the deficit. Because until the political elites decide how this deficit is going to be tackled any promises are worthless. Extra spending will add to the deficit. 

Now it is the Conservatives who got us into this mess. So I feel it is up to the Conservatives to specify where the cuts could fall. It is not up to the opposition parties to specify but they should give some idea where the cuts will fall. So the one question for the local elections is:

How will you deal with HDC £6.1 million budget deficit?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Martin Land - Multiple Agent

"that the Tories remain a coalition between the blatantly self-interested, closet racists, and homophobes.."
Whilst Martin Land has an Agent for the Huntingdon general election, there is nothing stopping Martin from being an Agent to other Liberal Democrat candidates. Martin Land is Agent to other parliamentary candidates: Lorna Spenceley and Sebastian Kindersley. It makes me wonder whether Martin Land has got enough time to be the Liberal Democrat for Huntingdon!

The Evidence
North East Cambridgeshire

Fenland Liberal Democrats

South Cambridgeshire

It should be noted that Martin Land lives at 11 Chandlers Wharf.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Picture on Djanogly website.

Jonathan ran the Sport Relief One Mile.

Another District Wide. Another missed opportunity!

This District Council faces making £6.1 million of cuts. Not that you would know from the front cover of this propaganda magazine. (3 pages of District Wide - google docs)
Turning to page 3 and Cllr Ian Bates doesn't say anything about the impending cuts. On pages 8 and 9 there is a set out under the banner - Council tax - planned increase halved.

So how did the Council halve the planned increase? Not a mention of this in the article below the headline.

No mention of closing the Public Conveniences. 
No mention of charging for car parks. 
No mention of the £6.1 million deficit. 

But there is a mention of the on coming storm in the graphic on page 9.
Each white box informs the reader of how much has to be saved each year. £1 million + £1.6 million + £1.6 million + £1.9 million = £6.1 million of cuts. Why can't HDC admit this?

Further down the page is a paragraph asking for our feedback. HDC asks the following:

• Should we increase charges for services such as car parking and leisure centres?
• Should we introduce charges for services that are currently free and, if so, which ones?
• Are there services that we could reduce or stop altogether?
• Should we just increase council tax, if the government will let us?

That is all fine an well. The point I will make is this is like pinning the tail on the donkey. Unless proper information is given on the working and finances of HDC are given there is no real point. I'll take each point separately.

• Should we increase charges for services such as car parking and leisure centres?

What will increases raise? What are the consequences?

• Should we introduce charges for services that are currently free and, if so, which ones?

What services do you provide for free?

• Are there services that we could reduce or stop altogether?

What services do you provide and at what cost. How can I decide what should be reduced or stopped.

• Should we just increase council tax, if the government will let us?

To get rid of this deficit by increasing Council tax would mean an average rise of £102. Is this what I'm agreeing to if I just say yes!

I find this article a waste of time. It hides the truth. Trumpets at the halving of planned increase but doesn't say the reductions were due to the closure/transfer of toilets. It misses the opportunity of having a conversation with residents on the decisions that need to be made. Yes, the residents have been told but in such a way as to cover up the severity of the forthcoming cuts!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Betting on the Huntingdon Constituency

As a follower of to see those who do bet money (not a gambler myself) as to who is going to win the General Election. I also looked at how the Bookmakers view the Huntingdon constituency election.

The Best Prices for the Conservatives are 1/100. This mean for every £100 bet if you win you get back £1. Even the bookies think Djanogly is going to win! 

I asked for some information but not yet received

I sent an e-mail to Deryck Irons, Parish Clerk to Eynesbury Hardwicke Parish Council and also to St Neots Rural Parish Council with the following e-mail:  2nd March 2010
Dear Sir,

I noticed from the HDC website that your a Parish Clerk to Eynesbury Hardwicke Parish Council and St Neots Rural Parish Council. As these are being abolished on 31st March 2010 can you let me have the following:

1. A list of current parish councillors on each Parish Council.

2. What arrangements have been made for the parish records. Which Council is going to be in charge of these records?

Still waiting for an answer!

On my doormat! This month's look at the number of political leaflets received

In the month of March on the lead up to the local elections and a very likely General Election I received 2 leaflets. 1 from Martin Land and 1 from the "St Neots" Conservatives.

Well that is now three leaflets in 2 months. Nearly a record. The current score is Liberal Democrats 2 - Conservatives 1.

Still waiting on the Djanogly's taxpayer funded Winter edition leaflet.

Question on Freedom of Information for Martin Land

I have a question for Martin Land, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Huntingdon. The question is:

Do you believe in Freedom of Information?

If the answer is yes I have another question.

St Neots Town Council is withholding a report into the Christmas Lights accident despite Freedom of Information requests. Do you feel it is right for the Town Council to withhold this information?

St Neots Liberal Democrats v Freedom of Information

I find it very funny, in a disturbing way, that our Liberal Democrat run Town Council doesn't like Freedom of Information. Looking on Google I found the Liberal Democrats go on and on about Freedom of Information. Banners like:

There is also a section on: Strengthening Freedom of Information.

Yet at a local level the Liberal Democrats on SNTC stopping Freedom of Information by denying requests. Looking on ICO website I found an FOI request dating back to 27th March 2009.
This is about the Xmas Lights Investigation. An FOI request shouldn't take this long. So what is the Liberal Democrat SNTC doing? It seems to be the national policy is for Freedom of Information. The local policy seems to be to DENY Freedom of Information.

Having read up on the Muck and Brass blog about how Somerton Town Council resorted to solicitors to deny FOI requests I wonder if the St Neots Town Council is doing the same? Maybe this is why minutes and agendas are missing from the SNTC website!

I thought the secret SNTC was over when Julia Hayward replaced Derek Giles. Obviously I was wrong. Secrecy is the way of life at SNTC and the freedom loving Liberal Democrats are NOT doing much about it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shelter blames the wrong people.

Why is Shelter blaming HDC for not doing enough? Because Shelter would have to blame this Labour Government for this mess over Social Housing. And it is a mess. The Labour Government's Spatial Strategy is a farce. 1,330 social properties needed. 560 required by the spacial strategy. Far easier for Shelter to blame local councils rather their friends in Labour.

This Labour Government is following on from the previous Conservative governments failed social housing policy. If you want to build good, cheap social housing then build Council Housing.

Are the Liberal Democrats fighting the elections in May?

The reason I'm asking this question is there is an advert on the Priorities Magazine. This announces the Town Council is holding the Annual Town Meeting on 6th May 2010. Does the date sound familiar? It could do as the local elections are being held on this day. This is also the very likely date of the General Election.

Why is the Liberal Democrat run Town Council holding this Meeting on this day? The  Town Council Leader is Cllr Julia Hayward. Julia is Agent to Martin Land and should be running the elections campaigns on the day. A couple of Liberal Democrat Town Councillors could be standing for the District Council on that day.

To me, the message is the Liberal Democrats have already given up. The St Neots Liberal Democrats would rather be at a meeting than knocking on doors to win elections. Someone had better tell Martin Land! No wonder I'm voting UKIP!