Labour hopes the fox will save 'em while Britin goes to the dogs

Let me say hunting doesn’t do it for me. I attended one when I was a PPC when they weren’t even chasing a real fox, and whilst it was interesting, people in red coats on horses chasing anything doesn’t do it for me. At the same time – fishing, the most popular sport in the country also isn’t my cup of tea. My feelings on both is that Iwouldn’t ban them.

Then we learn that Labour seem to think a pledge to retain the hunting ban is going to be a key plank of their re-election strategy.

Well great one guys. You go protect the fox while the rest of the country goes to the dogs.

Communication Terminator style

Dizzy has already written about this, but isn’t it good to see Arnie commuincating terminator style to the members of the California State Assembly.

(Hint – Read vertically the first letter of each line downwards starting with the word For)

terminator

Fiddling while Westminster burns?

A reader of Tory Radio sent me this picture. Their suggestion for a caption was Fiddling While Westminster Burns. Can you do any better?

fiddling_while_wesminster_burns

PMQs… who won this weeks confrontation?

If you missed this weeks PMQs, do not fear. Catch up with all the action by clicking on the podcast above.

Are changes to MPs terms and conditions ill conceived?

If the latest news reports are to be believed, then MPs will no longer be able to claim for mortgage payments on second homes, and even worse (for them) is that if they live within an hour of London they won’t be able to claim anything for a second home. Added to that – they won’t be allowed to employ family members.

So what do I think? Well as someone who commutes from Nottinghamshire – where a 6:24 am train means I can get to Parliament at 8:15am, long before many MPs roll up may I add, I have to say I don’t have much sympathy for MPs who will say this isn’t fair. If I can commute, and so does my wife, who works next to Waterloo, then so can many MPs. We each pay over £8,000 for our season ticket – which certainly isn’t value for money – though I suspect if more MPs did this we may get better informed public transport decisions.

On the subject of MPs employing family members I do have mixed feeling. I remember when I wrote to about 50 MPs after the 2001 election as someone in full time employment in the political arena, as someone not straight out of University, offering help for free, I received a total of 3 positive responses. It is notoriously hard to get a job in politics, and there is seemingly many MPs who hire family members, so I’m not sure proper rules on open competition were followed.

It is of course interesting to see my former opponent John Mann on all the news channels backing these measures. I guess he too will feel the brunt, as my understanding is that he has employed his wife Ms Joanna White in his constituency office for a number of years. Should he and others be able to do so? Well if they do a good job I have never really had an issue with it. Why? Well I truly believe that the vast majority of staff (relatives included) are extremely hard working and work many more hours than they are paid for.

I know of one person I only spoke to this week who goes into work on Sunday, and if you added the hours they work above their contracted hours they would be owed 9 months off for time in lieu.

It is one thing to try to standardise jobs in Parliament, and I will be interesting to see what is happening to plans to make all staff employees of the House rather than employees of MPs themselves. If that move goes through I can see no way that MPs will not be able to have relatives working for them – as they will be contracted not be MPs but by the House itself and under employment law how on earth could they make them redundant just for being married to what would then effectively be another employee of the House.

Frankly the move to make all MPs staff employees of the House is opening up a huge Pandoras box, and frankly given the House Authorities couldn’t manage the system of expenses (for it was them who signed the claims off) what is the likelihood that they are fit for purpose in managing thousands of more staff?

So yes, make them commute if they have to. Yes take a make sure in future jobs are advertised, but moves to remove family members currently employed especially if they will no longer be directly employed by the MP themselves could end up costing the taxpayer dearly in claims for unfair dismissal that I am sure will arise.

The CWU are pushing my loyalty to the limit

My first proper job after University once I had my Masters degree was in the mail room of Post Office counters headquarters in Chesterfield. My mother worked for the Group Treasury function at Royal Mail for over 20 years. You could say Royal Mail is in my blood.

For that reason I have always tried to be loyal to the company. I support my local sub-post office. My business bank account was with Alliance and Leicester as I could use the sub-post office and they would get a transaction fee. The use it or lose it phrase meant something to me having seen thousands of post offices close since 1997.

Then of course we look at Royal Mail. I still opt to get my bills and bank statements by paper. OK its not that environmentally friendly. But I like letters and I still think its a way of supporting Royal Mail. I still send Christmas cards – none of this online card nonesense!

BUT this strike is really testing my loyalty to the limits. Two cheques posted by an individual for my company have not arrived, so I have now opted to get paid by BACS. Now none of my bills are arriving so I have opted to have them emailed.

It’s only three little things, but if you multiply that across the country, and then look at what the mass mailers are doing you can see that whilst the CWU would still have you believe they have a monopoly and can hold customers to ransom there are choices out there and people are taking them.

You know what. Management at Royal Mailk may not be perfect, but neither is the CWU, and this national strike will do nothing but damage the business they supposedly want to protect. Mail volumes are dropping, and after this strike the only way is down.

Well done guys…. is this what you really wanted?

Do women really need encouragement to stand for Parliament?

An inspiration to both men and women?

An inspiration to both men and women?

Of course I can’t answer that question, given I’m not one, but I do find it slightly bizarre that during the whole debate as to whether the Conservative party should adopt all women shortlists there was a comment that women need to be inspired to do the job.

Oh come on. In my lifetime the Conservatives have been in power from 1979 to 1997. So 18 years. And out of those years we had a female prime minister and female party leader for well over 50% of our time in power.

Yes there are things thatcan be done to make it easier for women to enter politics, but to say women have no inspiration and may leave politics because they have to fight an unwinnable seat (haven’t we all done that??) is a nonsense! If Lady Thatcher inspired so many men to get invovled in politics I really would question the motivation of any woman who said they needed more inspiration to get involved.

Tim Montgomerie at ConHome has written about 20 ways he feels women can be attracted to politics 

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