Monday, May 31, 2010

What land does the Town Council own?

At the Annual Town Meeting I asked a question about what land the Town Council owns and leases.

The answer I got was:

Owned land:
Shady Walk
Ackerman Street
Eaton Socon Village Green
Eaton Ford Village Green
Eynesbury Village Green
The Sydney Banks Field

Land and Buildings:
Eaton Socon Lock Up
The Magistrates Court
The Gate Lodge
The Old Mortuary
Eaton Socon Institute (Jubilee Hall)
Ex-Servicemen's Club
Eatons Community Centre
Priory Centre - 49% (51% owned by HDC)

The Town Council leases from HDC:

The Priory Centre land
6 play areas (peppercorn)
Operations Depot

The Town Council has granted leases to:

St Neots Table Tennis Club
St Neots Museum Ltd
Eynesbury Rovers FC
Reserve Forces and Cadets
Ex-Servicemen's Club
Eaton Socon Institute

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Coalition and HDC finances

In the coalition agreement is a proposal for a 1 year freeze in Council Tax and maybe for 2. This will just add to the woes of HDC which is in deep financial trouble. The Medium Term Plan (MTP) on page 31 shows the need for £6.1 million of cuts. Freezing the Council Tax will mean HDC will have to find a further £255,000 in cuts and a second year freeze would add a further £257,000.

The other threat to HDC finances has to be any cut in Government Grant. HDC is forecasting to receive £12.4 million from Government. A 10% cut adds £1.24 million to the deficit. A 20% cut adds £2.48 million. But that is for later in the civic year.

Hopefully they will save some money from the abolition of the Standards Board and Audit Commissions utterly useless Comprehensive Area Assessment. The Comprehensive Performance Assessment is also utter useless.  To often the local councils are looking towards these plans as their gold stars. Resources can be skewed towards getting these gold stars. 

I like the Coalition plans for local referenda for excessive council tax increases. Though excessive needs to be defined! These referenda will cost money. I do feel we have to stop scrimping on democracy but combine these with local elections they would make sense. Huntingdonshire could be one of the first councils having to use this method. 

The main problem with HDC finances is the inability of the Conservatives to take action over their massive deficit. This inability will haunt HDC. The Conservatives have had years to make the necessary cuts to services to match the Council Tax level. The Conservatives boast about the low council tax rates and low tax rises. Now they will have to match their boast with the cuts necessary to budget into balance.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why does HDC need to lie?

If you don't know by now the reason HDC is cutting back on services is because it is running a budget deficit. This has been an underlying problem from way back before 2004. In that year HDC was looking at increasing the Council Tax level by 116% in 2008/09.
With the Government capping council tax increases the 116% increase will never happen. HDC is in a financial pickle, much of its own making. Relying on interest and reserves to keep Council Tax down this was bound to come back and bite HDC hard.

In an article on the online News and Crier - Curtain call for 14 year old music festival - Dan Smith, community manager at the council, said: “It has been a difficult decision but the members of the council decided that in the current economic climate they could no longer subsidise the provision of the concerts at this time.

These cuts have nothing to do with the current economic climate. The financial problems pre-date the current problems. I suppose it is easier for HDC to lie about why these cuts are occurring rather than informing the public as to the true reasons why!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A question to the Town Meeting about the former Town Clerk.

There is much I would like to know about the leaving of the former Town Clerk, P. Devonald. I asked the following question:

I understand there is a confidentiality agreement between the Town Council and the former Town Clerk, P. Devonald. Who requested this confidentiality agreement and who at the Town Council approved this agreement?

The answer was:

"This is a Personnel matter and it is standard practice that personnel matters remain confidential. The Town Council approved this agreement."

This is where I disagree with the Liberal Democrats. I don't feel this is solely a personnel matter and is, in fact, a matter of public interest. I didn't want to know the contents just who requested this confidentiality agreement.

Councillors defeated over play areas?

As reported earlier, an OSC has been looking into changing the way HDC funds play areas. The Conservative run HDC cabinet was minded to move the whole expense of play areas to the Town/Parish Councils. 

In response to the rebuff by the cabinet OSC chairman Cllr Steve Criswell said: "In the current financial climate and with the drastic level of debt the Government will have to repay, local authorities will have some very difficult decisions to make."

The real reason behind this moving of costs to the Town Councils is the £6.1 million budget deficit which needs to be tackled. It is not the Governments fault this deficit arose. The Conservative run HDC is at fault for running up this deficit and its inability to tackle this mess.

But these comments run deeper. All District Councillors should know what a financial mess the District Council is in. Yet the ruling Conservatives have these ideas which would keep increasing the deficit.  Madness! Pure Madness!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cinema moving forward?

I see HDC continues with its secrecy. Interest shown in the land to the rear of Lidl canot be told because of "commercial sensitivity". This is public land being sold. What is "commercially sensitive" about all this?

I still feel the resulting cinema will be a disappointment to St Neots. I'm looking for a good Vue cinema type building. The problem I have is this will be squeezed into the area rather than looking good.

Frozen woman finally to get her burial

I see the cemetery extension is to start accepting burials from 1st June 2010. I will continue to point out this burial will only take place in St Neots because plans for a new cemetery in Bedfordshire fell through. The cemetery extension was down for sale to subsidise the failed new cemetery.

There is a long term problem with the burying people in St Neots. This does need to be dealt with either a proper cemetery or a non burial policy leading to cremation. SNTC is looking to make this part of the land allocation for the new building area east of the railway. This will be resisted by the developers. Hopefully this would be Section 106 money used to purchase land.

HDC Officers take apart Liberal Democrats proposals

There is a meeting of the OSC (Economic Well-being) is to meet on 3rd June 2010. The reason for the meeting is the Liberal Democrats came up with some cost saving ideas. This is the official way that local government can destroy proposals from oppositions.

The OSC report is here.

Members' Allowances

The Liberal Democrats came up with some savings. There is a fee for £5,000 for the Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel. The main reason for paying this out is the Chairman (unnamed) has lots of data.

Otherwise, the OSC is informed, council staff would have to gather all the information. Sorry, but this is wrong. The Local Government Association gathers and publishes this type of information. The LGA even has its own rates. So e-mail the LGA and get the information from this body.

Who are the members of the Independent Remunerations Panel? I found a Taxpayers' Alliance report on IRP's as I tried searching the Huntingdonshire website and found nothing.

In the Taxpayers' Alliance report it says the chairman of the panel is Dr Declan Hall of Birmingham University. The other 4 members are:

Ms Karen Bell of Cambs and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Of the 5 members 3 are women. 1 comes from the private sector. 1 is a solicitor and was a Parish Clerk. The other 3 are non-private. Where are the representatives from the ordinary taxpayers?

Cutting the number of issues of District Wide

This idea has effectively been broken by the officers report. The only problem is this will probably happen as the money runs down. Remember what the officer says now and what will be said in the future. The big problem with this magazine is it is just a Council propaganda rag. There are cuts coming. This could be a useful medium to inform residents. But the Conservative administration won't

Arts Service

This part of the report is revealing. It says under "Comments by the Head of Environmental and Community Health Services":
"Until such time that Members agree on savings elsewhere in the budget, officers are in no position to recommend further expenditure on the Arts Service. Given the size of the current budget deficit (£4.7m) even if savings were identified it is unlikely that officers could recommend reinstating the Arts budget."

In English, the Officer is informing all Councillors to find more than £4.7 million in cuts to the revenue budget to be able to put back an Arts Budget. Actually the Council needs to cut £6.1 million and more than that to make money available for an Arts Budget. It is a pity this realisation of this mess has to come from officers rather than our elected representatives.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crawling in the pool of despair

The outdoor swimming pool saga drags on. The Swiming Pool Trust is now is to meet an unnamed party to discuss a "potential offer". So no offer has actually been made!

Just don't get your hopes up. Too many times this project has been given false dawns with some Councillors talking up the project for it only to fail.

Once again these decisions are being taken in secret. It wouldn't take much for the SNSPT to keep the Town properly informed on what is going on. But they won't. The Swimming Pool Trust is now 115 day late in submitting its accounts and report to the Charity Commissioners. I doubt SNSPT will ask the public. Everything will be kept secret.

I will point out to the charity that: "The main object of the charity is to provide swimming pool facilities for the use of the inhabitants of St Neots and the surrounding neighbourhood." Splash facilities for kids is not a swimming pool. I would define a swimming pool facilities to include a pool in which an adult can swim in.

Will the Town Council ever get their information up to date?

I thought I would look up on the SNTC website the minutes for the Annual Town Meeting and the Annual Council Meeting both held on 11th May 2010. Guess what? No, don't guess what. The standard was set under Giles/Thorpe leadership. So these are currently missing. It is not a though nothing has happened. Indeed the Planning Committee minutes of 19th May 2010 have already been published. So why the delay on the Annual Meetings minutes?
The last Council minutes were for 10th March 2010. What has gone in between. The public simply don't know!
The Minutes archive is totally wrong. It says the archive is split up. It isn't and is in a right mess with minutes for meetings still missing!

Agendas are as equally important as the Minutes. But the Agendas file has just been forgotten. These were not updated at all in the last civic year. The Agenda archive is also in a mess.

Freedom of information is all very well. But if the information is not made available then what is the point. Time and again the Liberal Democrat run Town Council falls down on this. Each Council should publish a report on Freedom of Information and Records Management. When I looked this up on the Town Council website I find this:
This is wrong!

Is dementia care one of the first cuts?

The County Council has decided to stop the block contract for day care for people with dementia and Healthcare Homes decided this wasn't profitable and has decided not to renew.

The effect is the County Council has decided it will not pay for this service and it is therefore a cut. This is the first of many cuts to come.

So how have local Councillors reacted to this cut?

Cty Cllr Catherine Hutton said: " was "not ideal" but it was not a decision taken by the Council"

Err...yes it was. The County Council decided it wanted to pay less and Healthcare Homes decided it wouldn't continue at the reduced price

SCDC Councillor for Gamlingay, Bridget Smith, said: "I was horrified to learn about these closure plans". "This is grossly unfair".

So where would you find the money?

Fiona Whelan, Liberal Democrat spokesman on Adult Care Services said: "This is extremely worrying news". "The county council must look closely at this whole issue and work to find a way to keep these centres open".

So where would you find the money?

Is this going to be the future? A future of cuts and councillors hand ringing over these cuts. There are going to be even more cuts to services and as these get deeper this handwringing will continue.

The County Council does its best to muddy the waters over this issue. The County Council informs us the NHS Community Services Trust will " everything in its power to meet their wishes.". As these services are paid for by the County Council it is very obvious the "everything in its power" phrase doesn't mean being able to keep these day centres open!

Each Council knows what is needed to be cut. Our Councillors should know what needs be cut. There a choices to be made over these cuts. Handwringing and blaming others doesn't make for good decisions. What needs to be happen is the truth, however unpalatable, needs to be told. Many more cuts are to come. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

A question to the Town Meeting on Investors in People.

In 2008/09 Forward Plan there was a commitment to the employees of the Town Council over training and obtaining the Investors in People status.
I therefore asked the following question:

Did the Council achieve "Investors in People" in 2009?

The answer the Town Council gave was:

"To the best of my knowledge, the council has not yet applied for "Investors in People".

So the Town Council didn't even seek to achieve this status. Can we trust what the Town Council says? I feel this must be NO!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A question to the Town Meeting about SNCC and SNTC

I asked the following question of the Town Council:

The St Neots Community College has been in special measures. What extra resources has the Town Council provided to this school?

The answer I received was the following:

"St Neots Community College is not within the remit of the Town Council but is administered by the County Council."

The reason I asked this question is I received a Liberal Democrat leaflet at the 2009 County elections. In this leaflet Cllr Julia Hayward and Martin Land were saying the following if they were elected:

"Work with our Lib Dem Town Council to give additional support to the school. We have already had a number of ideas which we have already discussed with the school."

I can understand that Cllr Julia Hayward and Martin Land weren't elected. What I wanted to find out was how committed the then Leader of the Town Council, Julia Hayward, was in putting additional support into SNCC. If elected, Julia was all for giving additional support from the Town Council taxpayer. Not elected and the support from the Town Council disappeared.

I feel this type of promise is wrong.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Council Speak Translation

I always love translating a good bit of Council speak. It is obvious from other Council publications what HDC has to do. Rather than actually informing residents of what plainly is going to happen there is a code. Residents have been informed of what is going to happen but in a way that I feel  needs translating. An example:

Mrs Susan Lammin, head of Environmental and Community Health Services says: "The outcome of deliberations was that prudent financial management will require that the breadth of council services may need to be reduced over the next year or so until public sector budgets are more balanced."

A translation of this Council speak is: "To balance the budget, HDC needs to make £6.1 million in cuts and this means lots of services will be cut over the next 4 years."

How can £3 million for a car park in Huntingdon?

How can a Council which needs to save £6.1 million over 4 years to balance the budget deficit can spend £3 million on a multi-story? That is easy, they won't. The £3 million will be borrowed from the Government at low interest rates and for say 40 years. This means the capital repayment of the loan and interest on the £3 million will be roughly £200,000 a year.

Therefore the cost to HDC is roughly £200,000 a year which does need to be found from the current budget. This money has already been accounted for with the Medium Term Plan and is part of the £6.1 million that needs to be cut. The more that is borrowed - the more needs to be cut in services. 

Now Ian Bates (Leader of HDC) is saying that after Huntingdon Town Centre the next project will be St Neots. If we even get that far, this will have to be achieved by more loans. This will mean more services will have to be cut to pay for all this. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anthea leaves Huntingdon Labour

I see Anthea has left Huntingdon Labour for pastures new. This was announced by Anthea on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reflections on the Annual Town Meeting

The Annual Town Meeting should be an important part of St. Neots life. It is a point in the St. Neots civic calendar when the electors of the Town can come together to talk about St. Neots. Whilst the Town Council is required to organise and run this event it is NOT a Council Meeting. There seems to be the fundamental misunderstanding of what the Annual Town Meeting is for. The ATM agenda is here.

Because the Town Council cannot understand what the Annual Town Meeting is for it ends up putting the Town Council standards on this meeting. This is wrong.

A Town Meeting is just that. Whilst the Town Mayor chairs the Town Meeting and it is organised by the Town Council, it is not a meeting of the Town Council. This is an important distinction. As the Town Councillors are there as electors they should be sitting amongst the electors and not seperate from them. I found the Town Concillors facing the electors just an extension of the "them and us" which pervades the secretative St. Neots Town Council.

Onto the Agenda

This is a meeting of the Town. Only the Town Councillors et al seemed to have agendas. There were none for the public. Also where were the previous minutes? When the meeting was asked to approve the minutes it was not for the Councillors to approve but all those attending the meeting including the electors!

We then moved onto the Mayor's Report. This long drawn out verbal report was presented without any written report provide for the audience. More on the Mayor's Report when the minutes of the meeting are published.

At the top of the Agenda the public are invited to address the Council. This is wrong. The public have the right to address the meeting. 
We had the Councillors Statement of Attendance. I've never had this at a Town Meeting. The statement of Attendance would be more appropriate within the Annual Council Meeting.
Again the meeting was asked to approve a document it had no sight of. Secrecy abounds.

The Town Mayors' Charity Presentations shouldn't be here. This is appropriate for the Annual Council Meeting. I know some Town/Parish Councils do this but they insist local organisations give a report to the Town Meeting on their activities. These organisations do receive public funds towards their activities. Time we require the same.

Moving onto item 7. St Neots - The Future again brings the short presentation. The Annuall Town Meeting should be a good example of discussion about the future. 
Yet again there was no literature to go with this presentation. Why not? This just smacks of HDC secrecy or penny pinching. Where am I supposed to put my views forward on St Neots - The Future?
The Town Debate was apparently included in the St Neots - The Future. I ask some 25 questions and I'll get around to looking at these and the answers in detail - soon.

In conclusion, I will point out this is not a real Meeting when compared to others. This meeting has been squeezed in front of the Annual Council Meeting. There is no reason for this at all. The Annual Town Meeting is for the electors of the Town and can be held between 1st March and 1st June inclusive. I feel the Annual Town Meeting should be a key event in the civic calendar rather than squeezing it in before the Annual Council Meeting.
In comparison
As couple of Town Meeting agendas and documents from other Town Councils:

The first is: Hythe Town Council Town Meeting Standing Orders. This gives the legal background behind an Annual Town Meeting.

The second is: an agenda from Loughton Town Council.

The third is: an agenda from Folkstone Town Council. This makes use of other organisations.

Another Conservative stealth tax on St Neots.

In the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 22nd April 2010, the Cabinet decided to give an opinion on who should provide and maintain play areas. 
This is another push by the Conservatives to get the Town/Parish and others to pick up the expenses so the Conservatives at HDC can trumpet their next low council tax rise. Nothing here about talking to the Town/Parish Councils. Just another decision from on high.

HDC is in such a financial state it needs to push services and responsibilities down to the Town/Parish Councils. That has to be a given. There are ways of doing this. What is needed is for HDC to come clean and talk with the Town and Parish Councils. They haven't and they won't. So we are going to get HDC forcing onto the Towns and Parish services it cannot afford to run. HDC decides and everyone else has to pick up the pieces.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Has Jonathan Djanogly got a Government job? The answer so far is NO! This may be down to the Liberal Democrats in the coalition and having to find jobs for them. I feel this is part of the answer. The other part is Djanogly and his expenses problems have caused him problems. Chris Grayling got demoted from the Shadow Cabinet to a junior role. Djanogly couldn't be demoted any further than being on the backbenches. 
Having given up is £300,000 pa solicitor partnership for a job in Government, he hasn't got the job. This is a rebuff. But Djanogly has only got himself to blame. I believe if Djanogly had actually held a public meeting over his expenses claims he would have gone up in most peoples estimations.

Update: Djanogly is on the lowest paid rung of the ladder and has been appoint as an Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Neighbourhood Meetings - a waste of time and money?

Back on 17th February 2010, the Chairman of HDC extended his appreciation to those involved in attracting 200 people to the Neighbourhood Forums. Out of a population estimate of 168,900 this isn't many. But these forums are supposed to be about engaging with the public! When I take a look at how many members of the public actually turned up to these meetings I find:

North West Huntingdonshire: 6
Huntingdon: 13
St Ives: 16
Ramsey: 6
St Neots: 7

Out of the 200 people only 48 were members of the public. None of the other notes of the neighbourhood meetings held in March/April have been published. What a waste of money. Unless the Council and its partners actually get hundreds of members of the public turning up then this will continue to be unrepresentative and a waste of money.

What is HDC doing to get more people along to these meetings? In the case of St Neots it has decided to move the meeting from the population centre to Kimbolton! Well I'm not going and I can't see many of the St Neots public going either. Looking at the map of the forum boundaries I can understand why some of these meetings moving around as many of these forum cover large wide rural areas.

There is a but. St Neots is the big population centre of the south of this District. If these meetings are going to continue and attract the public why have these miles away? I noticed the Huntingdon Neighbourhood Forum has so far been held in Huntingdon. The map shows the Huntingdon Forum covers Perry. I doubt the residents Huntingdon would be asked to go to Perry. So why are the residents of St Neots expected to go to Kimbolton?

I would prefer a system of ward meetings where local councillors meet their electors and listen to their views. These massive meetings aren't attracting the public. Try something else.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking a break

I've been doing this blog for 6 months and I've enjoyed this. I found out much more about St. Neots and I've grown to love this Town. But now I'm going to do other things but I will continue with this blog but not at the previous furious rate. So I'll have this weekend off the blog and start again with the Annual Town Meeting.


Local Election results held on 6th May

Conservatives/Liberal Democrats swap seats

St Neots Eynesbury - Liberal Democrat Gain

The difference between a proper campaign with a candidate out campaigning is illustrated here. The Conservatives hardly did anything round here. Well done Steve!

Party 2010 Vote
2008 Vote
+/- 2010 % 2008% +/-
Conservative 1632 Elected - 1031 +601 35.9 54.9 -19.0
Liberal Democrat Elected - 2007 666 +1341 44.1 35.4 +8.7
Labour 539 182 +357 11.8 9.7 +2.1
UKIP 375 0 +375 8.2 0 +8.2
Total 4553 1879

Priory Park - Conservative Gain

Party 2010 Vote
2008 Vote
+/- 2010 % 2008% +/-
Conservative Elected - 1625 726 +899 49.4 46.4 +3.0
Liberal Democrat 1322 Elected - 742 +580 40.2 47.4 -7.2
Labour 341 96 +245 10.4 6.2 +4.2
Total 3288 1564
Majority 303

The Conservatives did well to take this marginal seat.

General Election Results - Huntingdon Constituency

Djanogly wins and wins well. In the surrounding areas the Conservatives pushed ahead with a 5% increase in their share of votes. Djanogly was a 1.9% decrease. Roughly 7% down. Most of this vote went to UKIP. I feel Anthea didn't do that badly as other seats. 

The main problem was Martin Land. He had many jobs to do plus being the parliamentary candidate for Huntingdon. Good looking literature but he aimed this at an anti-Conservative alliance. To win in Huntingdon the Liberal Democrats need to get Conservative supporters on his side and this he failed. Even if Land had got an anti-Djanogly coalition together, without Conservative supporters he would have still lost.

Party Candidate 2010 Vote
2005 Vote
2010 % Notional
2005 %
Conservative Jonathan Djanogly 26516 26646 -130 48.9 50.8 -1.9
Liberal Democrat Martin Land 15697 13799 +1898 28.9 26.3 +2.6
Labour Anthea Cox 5982 9821 -3839 11.0 18.7 -7.7
UKIP Ian Curtis 3258 2152 +1106 6.0 4.1 +1.9
Green John Clare 652 0 +652 0 +1.2
APP Carrie Holliman 181 0 +181 0 +0.3
Independent Jonathan Salt 1432 0 +1432 0 +2.6
OMRLP Lord Toby Jug 548 0 +548 0 +1.0
Turnout 54266 52418 65.1 62.5
Majority 10819 12847 -2028 24.5

As Djanogly has won then his problems over his expenses should now be put behind us. The electorate have spoken and he has won. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Elections 2010 - The Results

Exit polls.

The BBC, Sky and ITN have banded together to have one exit poll.

Conservatives: 307
Labour: 255
Liberal Democrats: 59 has Huntingdon for the Liberal Democrats but this is on only 4 votes.

I'll be looking for are seats around St Neots to make comparisons. I'll also look for other comparators.

Update: Does Peter Robinson's defeat point the way to the Huntingdon result?
Update: Does Lembit Opik defeat point the way to the Huntingdonshire result?

Update: Lansley wins Cambridgeshire South. Labour vote dropped massively. More here.

Update: Conservatives hold Cambridgeshire North East and Bedfordshire North East.

Update: Conservatives hold Cambridgeshire North West.

Update: Andrew Gilbert gets a 2.7% swing from Labour to the Conservatives in Birkenhead.

Lola Cars gives £3,000 to Djanogly as it sacks 29 staff!

In a recent publication from the Electoral Commission I find out that Lola Cars gave £3,000 to the Conservative Party in Huntingdon whilst 29 Lola employees were made redundant.

Related articles:
Djanogly visits Lola Cars
Curse of Djanogly - 29 workers sacked 

Don't vote Djanogly!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Comments on some letters in the St Neots News and Crier - 06/05/2010

What are HDC up to? - Sue Hodsell is correct when she has a go at the Conservative run HDC. Sue is right to point out that HDC is simply forcing costs onto Town Councils. The Conservatives are quick to trumpet to the low Council Tax rise (capped by the Government) but the £6.1 million of cuts is hidden away.

The Great Takeaway? - Jon Mountfort is right to point out what HDC is taking away from the residents. I disagree with his interpretation of the 1974 re-organisation of local government. All the UDCs and RDCs were merged so the land was not given away. What does need to happen is there needs to be an agreement between the District Council and the Town/Parish Councils as to who does what. HDC has burned it bridges with the Town/Parish Councils.

Why are they annoyed? - Julia Hayward is right to point out the St Neots Conservatives inability to call a by-election. Instead of blaming everyone else the Conservatives should take this on the chin. This seems to be the St Neots Conservatives way of blaming everyone else for their own mistakes.

Election leaflets reported to police

I haven't received either one of these leaflets. The leaflet from Honest John apparently makes allegations against Jonathan Djanogly which is against electoral law. Also, against electoral law is not having an identifying imprint. If the election is close and Joanthan Djanogly loses we could be in the realms of an Election Court and a rerun election. I would warn Djanogly against this as itwould be the same as with Gerry Malone in Winchester in 1997 which didn't end well for him.

Carrie Holliman says about her allegations that these are "free speech". I'm for free speech, but this doesn't mean you can make unsubstantiated allegations against people. That isn't free speech. That is smear.

I feel there is enough to attack Djanogly over without resorting to smears and falsehoods

The redevelopment of the bus station in Huntingdon is unlikely to go ahead as HDC will look again at the viability of the scheme. Apparently, HDC has been looking into this site for the last 10 years.

The cancellation of this project will have some effect on the £6.1 million the Conservatives say they need to cut from there budget. As this would be classed as a capital project and would have been financed by a long term loan. This would save roughly £50,000 a year in loan repayments from the budget deficit and not the £900,000 headline.

Comments on one letter in The Hunts Post - 05/05/2010

MP morally wrong - Paul Sinclair informs us in his letter about the problems many normal Conservative voters have about Djanogly. Where we differ is Paul feels Djanogly broke an unwritten moral code. I feel Djanogly should be held to account by his electorate over his expenses.

Blogging through the night/My predictions

I will be blogging through the night of 6th May/7th May especially when some of the more local results start comings in. I will be refining my predictions as we go through the night on the potential Huntingdon result.

I suggest the Huntingdon Constituency result could be the following:

Party Candidate Prediction
2010 Vote
2005 Vote +/- Prediction
2010 %
2005 % +/-
Conservative Jonathan Djanogly 22000 26646 -4646 40 50.8 -10.8
Liberal Democrat   Martin Land 16500 13799 +2701 30 26.3 +3.7
Labour Anthea Cox 2200 9821 -7621 4 18.7 -14.7
UKIP Ian Curtis 2750 2152 +598 5 4.1 +0.9
Green John Clare 1650 0 +1650 3 0 +3.0
APP Carrie Holliman 0 - 0
Independent Jonathan Salt 8250 0 +8250 15 0 +15.0
OMRLP Lord Toby Jug 0 - 0
Turnout 55000 52418 62.5
Majority 5500 12847 10 24.5

There are a few comparators like North East Cambridgeshire, North West Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire. I will use these seat to refine my prediction as the night goes on. I will look for other seats to compare my prediction with.

I do feel the Labour vote will be dramatically cut and this vote will flow to Martin Land, Jonathan Salt and to John Clare. I do feel the Conservative vote will be cut and this will flow Ian Curtis, Jonathan Salt and some to Martin Land.

The big unknown is Jonathan Salt and his Independent campaign. I don't know how to gauge his support. On some scores I've got him losing his deposit. On other I have him winning.

I do feel there is an ambivalence towards Jonathan Djanogly. It is not within the realms of possibility that Jonathan Djanogly could lose or just win. On the other hand he could win by miles. It is the Conservatives to lose this seat. On past local by-election results they have achieved this rather spectacularly. Ramsey (not in this Constituency), Huntingdon North, Fenstanton and even Eynesbury have all gone the wrong way.

WARNING: All of this may be wishful thinking on my part.

SNTC breaches Freedom of Information Act

I read the freedom loving Liberal Democrats of St Neots Town Council have been found wanting when it comes to Freedom of Information. The News and Crier has been pursuing a Freedom of Information request made to the Town Council about the report on the Christmas lights that fell down. The Information Commissioner has issued a report and ruled the following

The Town Council has the right to withhold parts of the report because there is a distinct possibility the council could end up being prosecuted.

In the handling of this request the Town Council has breached the Freedom of Information Act. The ICO found:

A bit of silliness