Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gurkhas shambles, Night at the Exec, CGS Bids, Swine Fever and a Weekend in Broadstairs!!

I was a bit exasperated by the Government's tactics ovr the Gurkhas leading to a Commons defeat and pics of Joanna Lumley with Cameron and Cameron Lite(Clegg).
It seems a very strange subject to have a fight over and flew in the face of public opinion and no surprise therefore that many labour backbenchers voted with the opposition!!
A complete mess and for no apparent reason or justification, not what we need a year away form a General Election!!

I really hope we choose our fights better over the next year and this does not cover us in glory!!!
I was at the Executive reporting back on Peckham Rye Park and think that it went ok and the key issues of more sports pitches, better management groups and better facilities I think was accepted by the Exec.

I tidied up the Burgess Park Report up yesterday and now that is ready for OSC.

We met at 8am yesterday to go through the CGS bids and I was pleased to see lots from Camberwell Green Ward and we seem to have secured around £200,000 from the total for projects across the Ward and the Estates so happy with that!

Had my first Swine Fever Meeting at work this morning and am now part of the Swine Fever Group so getting some info out to staff and students this week and see how things have developed after the Bank Holiday weekend!
Off to Broadstairs with Shauna for the weekend and a Pirates Party as she approaches 8 years old!!
Hope the weather is anything like as good as last May Bank Holiday!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Budget, Town Hall, death of Jack Jones, Southwark News stuff and Hibs play well but lose again!

I was happy with this week's Budget which in such a harsh environment was firmly focused on jobs protecting the most vulnerable and stimulating the economy, all pretty good ideas in my view!

Budget Highlights:
Supporting people back into work with an extra £1.7 billion in Jobcentre Plus.
Supporting 18-24 year olds with a guaranteed job, training or work placement for all who reach 12 months unemployment.
Supporting pensioners with an additional payment alongside the Winter Fuel Payment worth £100 for households with someone aged over 80 and £50 for households with someone aged over 60
Supporting savers by raising the tax free Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs) limit to over £10,000.
Supporting families with children by increasing the Child Tax Credit by £20 a year from April 2010.
Supporting those made redundant by increasing statutory redundancy pay to £380 per week.
Supporting homeowners with a £600 million funding package to build more homes through unlocking sites currently sitting dormant
Supporting the housing market by extending the stamp duty holiday to the end of the year for properties under £175,000.
Supporting business by extending the Business Payment Support Service to help businesses experiencing short-term cash-flow difficulties.
Supporting the automotive industry by enabling people who scrap vehicles older than ten years to replace them with new vehicles at a discount of £2,000.

A busy Town Hall week with a very long but interesting OSC covering the Elephant, Aylesbury, Downtown, Housing Strategy and two Executive Member interviews, and oh yes a Call-In!!

Also Chaired Scrutiny A and finalised our Burgess Park recommendations and then had a really interesting presentation and discussion on Employment and Enterprise strategies and initiatives in Southwark to kick off our third Scrutiny task! Very sad news at the death of Jack Jones, a Camberwell resident, Spanish Civil War veteran, Trade Union giant and Pensioners Champion and a very committed and passionate individual. He will be greatly missed!!Southwark News carried good piece about my Campaign to get all Southwark's war Memorials repaired and refurbished and looking good for this year's Remembrance day! looking forward to a good response to that!

Next week I hope they will follow up a story on some Emergency Points that are lying around the borough rusting over a year!!

Hibs went down 2-3 to Rangers at Easter Road on Sunday after a much better performance than that at St.Mirren and a really good exciting high paced skillful game, a real rarity for the SPL!! Need to win most of last 5 games to get into the 4th spot and a UEFA Cup spot!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

More powers for Community Wardens, Trams in Edinburgh and Hibs struggle to make Top Six Split in SPL!!

The Government has given additional powers to the Southwark Community wardens, the first in the Country and I welcomed it this week.
I have not been uncritical of the Wardens in the past and feel that instead of headlines about bright costumes, utility belts and £1000 bikes these powers should help them get back to what they were designed to do, ie deal with enviro-crime and low level anti social behaviour!

The BBC London programme gave the issue full coverage and actually filmed around Camberwell green for added local flavour! Link is below:

When in Edinburgh for Easter I snapped this mock-up of an tram which will be operating in the Town Centre from next year and again regretted Boris's stupid decision to kill the project stone dead as soon as he came into office for a Tram from Kings Cross through South London!!
Cant wait to try out the Edinburgh Trams next year!!

Watched Hibs play away at St. Mirren on Setanta, a team we should beat easily and we were very lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw thanks to a good opportunist goal by Stephen Fletcher!
We have Rangers at home on Sunday with Motherwell taking on St. Mirren at home the day before. We are 1 point ahead and need to keep that to be in the top six!!
Anything less will be a disaster for Hibs and for Mixu who I imagine will not keep his job!! Just not good enough!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dirty Tricks, Council Assembly, Cardiff, Spineless SFA and Hibs playing tonight!

Whilst it was probably right for Damien McBride to fall upon his sword there has been a lot of self-righteous crap spoken by the Tories and the Press on this! Does anyone seriously believe that political parties continually examine opposition politicians private lives for political gain? In fact the main perpetrators are the Chief Whips of their own parties (remember Francis Urquart from House of Cards!"). Sending emails out from No.10 was clearly stupid although I am still unclear as to how an email sent to Derek Draper ended up in Guy Fox's inbox? There are so many leaks coming from inside the Party that sending anything like this by email is really stupid !!

I managed to rush back from Cardiff with my Rucksack to make most of Council Assembly. Just got in to hear Nick Stanton make some obscure point about how a Labour Councillor earned his living? Does that now mean that we can examine the working and private lives of opposition members and raise it at Council Assembly? That will be fun!!! Stanton also treated us to his whole range of emotions from A to B in another bewilderingly unintelligible rant, amusing point is when he joked about suspending standing orders to continue for a half hour and Mayor Eliza Mann asked for a seconder to the proposal!! Such high quality in public office it makes you wonder why you bother!!! (I bother to get rid of these idiots!!!)

I had a really good 3 days in Cardiff at the USHA Annual Conference at Cardiff University and was able to see a bit of the City for the first time!
The Formal Dinner took place in the fantastic setting of the National Museum of Wales with the Mayor welcoming us and a Welsh Male Voice Choir thrown in! A great evening and a successful event!

I has to take a picture of this statue of Anuearin Bevan in Cardiff town Centre, a radical socialist and a true Welshman!

No surprise to hear that the spineless SFA are now back peddling on the lifetime ban to the two morons Ferguson and McGregor!!
They went out on an 8 hour drinking bender between two World Cup Qualifying matches, were dropped to the ebnch (should have been sent home then!) and sat in the dug out in their Scotland kit doing what is pictured!!!
I hope they not only play for Scotland but get sent on a free to Greenock Morton!! I think that Rangers Boss Smith is more offended and has more guts than Burley will ever have.
Hibs play St. Mirren tonight at their new ground(will be watching it on Setanta live) and need a win to be in the top 6 for the split! I was disappointed to read Mixu saying that if they make the top six they can "enjoy" the last 5 games! Never mind enjoy what about trying to get the 4th place and a UEFA spot (looks like Hearts have 3rd spot and they are playing well!). If he does not have ambition beyond coming 6th then we need a new Manager!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Clear choices at the G20, Camberwell Baths get Govt. cash, Visit to Brum and Scotland win!

With the G20 London Summit in full swing it is clear to see the differing political agendas from the right and left with the Brown and Obama leading the call for further spensdning to encourage the World Economies, and the right of Merkel and Sarkosy (and Cameron!) trying to stop further investment hoping that the economy will just put itself right (maybe the tooth fairy will get it going!).
This is all to the good as it really does show the stark differences and how UK would be aligned if, god help us!, Cameron and the Burlington Tories were in charge!!
Great News this week as the Government awards £1.45 Million for the development of Camberwell Leisure Centre. I am sure that the recent visit by the Sports Minister helped but there is now no excuse for the Council to get on with this and give us a Centre that the people of Camberwell have been crying out for for years and which they deserve!!
It was my turn this week to do the Councillor Column in Southwark News and I expressed concern if we did not get the award but was very happy to hear the really great news!! Well done to all involved now lets' get on with it!!

I was at Birmingham University this week for the first of my work Conferences and went on an unexpected tour of JR Tolkien's haunts when he lived in Birmingham which made the evening go by! Included was the Water Works with the "Two Towers" which apparently inspired him!

Scotland got the needed win, 2-1 over Iceland last night with Hibs very own Stephen Fletcher scoring the winner!
We just need to keep on building up the points and hope for the 2nd place behind Holland which is very much within our reaches!! After that who knows who we will get in the Play-Offs?