Party Animals

Just watching the new political drama PARTY ANIMALS. Very entertaining.Like the website Village Vermin. What's more they have even gone to the trouble of registering and building a website. Pity they don't link to Tory Radio!

Lobbying – friend or foe?

 I read with interest this story from BBC news online about the lobbying industry. The report focuses on a report by the Hansard society into the lobbying of MPs.

I have to admit that I have been paid to do lobbying for both one of the biggest public companies in the UK and more recently for one of the biggest PLC's in the UK so I do come at this from a certain perspective.

I firstly find it somewhat perplexing to hear arguments from people who believe lobbying is somehow a bad activity or something that shouldn't be done. If anyone thinks that MPs know everything about every subject that they are sadly mistaken. What lobbyists do is present their side of the case – sometimes on behalf of a company or client – other times on behalf on an interest group or indeed charity.

What I found interesting was that whilst MPs stated that they trusted charities more when they were lobbying them, the survey suggested that 51% of them were contacted by charities at least 20 times a week.

So far from lobbying being undertaken by bluechip companies one thing that comes out of this survey is just how much money charities must be spending attempting to influence our decision makers. I wonder just what budgets some of the big charities spend on this activity.

Stephen Pound, the Labour MP for Ealing commented, "Every single day we get a blizzard of e-mails, a snowstorm of post.

"It's one of the most flagrant wastes of money in modern politics, mostly because MPs are contacted in a scattergun way, rather than with precision."

I think Stephen is right – there is an immense amount ofmoney wasted in trying toinfluece MPs. do you think MPs have time let alone actually WANT to read a companies Annual Report? Yet believe me-some companies still send them. For me this is an interesting area. I wonder how long it is before lobbyists and campaign groups finally really embrace the new media and new technology as effective tools for lobbying?


The art of negotiation part 19

This story really does beggar belief when you actually read it. Effectively GPs have been allowed to opt out of evening and weekend work for only a 6% pay cut.

According to a Dr Fradd,part of the negotiating team, "We got rid of it for effectively 6% of the value of the contract. It was just stunning. Nobody in my position had ever believed we could pull it off but to get it for 6% was a bit of a laugh."

Yes – highly amusing isn't it! In fact I better not laugh too much or my sides may split – but there may be no after hours doctors around!

Just remember don't feel ill unless it's during working hours.

Off to Birmingham

In the last Challenge the Chairman interview Francis Maude ran through the various options for party conference.A story in today's Birmingham Mail suggests that in 2008 the party will be off to Birmingham. 

What a bad day for Blackpool- no casino and no Tory Conference in 2008.

Viva Manchester

Iain Dale is busy eating his hat – as the super casino is going to Manchester. I don't particularly gamble- though have always liked the slot machines when I used togo to Bridlington each year. My biggest worry is that the Government appear to be basing their regeneration schemes on gambling – which certainly brings it's own social problems.

I remember being at a meeting where one of the representatives working for one of the companies wanting to build casinos, when challenged about what effect lots of casinos would have suggested that given there was almost unregulated gambling on the internet – why regulate it on the high street.

I shan't name the MP who hit back, but I thought it was a goos point when he said that there is also no regulation for porn on the internet – but he didn't think that was necessarily a good argument for it moving to the centre of our cities.

The gambling debate will go on.

Make your car more environmentally friendly

 Well OK,it won't do that – but it's still worth having!

Kelly to resign?

Following this announcement will Ruth Kelly have to resign as a matter of principle?

Ebay sense of humour lapse

I try not to bore you with non political stories however this one did make me smile.

For my 30th birthday my wife bought me a Playstation 2, as Id never had a computer game console before.Anyway, now that all my stuff is coming over to our house, I thought it was a good time to get rid of it and the games – one of them being The Godfather.

In the listing I put – Make me an offer I cant refuse – a play on words from the Godfather. Anyway I was shocked to find my listing had contravened ebay rules – something about trying to avoid ebay fees.I pointed out their mistake and recieved the following:-

I would like you to know that I realize you did not intend to violate
policy when you listed this item and I apologise for the inconvenience
this removal has caused you.

However, in accordance with our User Agreement, items prohibited by eBay
Listing Policies are not allowed to be listed on the eBay site.
Unfortunately, as you are aware, the following text was found to be in
breach of eBay's Fee Circumvention Policy:


Please know that it is not permitted to use the phrase “make me an
offer” unless you A) have a best offer option on your listing or B) make
it clear that the transaction will be made through e-Bay.

For this reason, we have ended your listings and credited all associated
fees to your account. We have also notified any bidders that the
listings have been removed.

Hmmmm clearly not a Brando fan then.

Checky out the 18 Doughty Street website

 18 Doughty Street gets a new website which is due to launch at some point today. Make sure you check it out as I hear it's well worth a visit.

Update – I published this post a little prematurely a week or so ago – but the sentiments stand.

Check out their new site. Has a good look to it – can't wait for the facility to upload videos to be finally available. 


Howard's Way

 Now there is something I really like about both Australia and the Australian PM John Howard. I am still trying to find enough time to read his biography, that a Tory Radio listener kindly sourced me from Australia.

I read with interest that at Australia's big day out music festival, there was talk of banning people wearing the national flag – you know – the kind of PC nonsense that might happen here. Well sure enough John Howard was having none of it. He told reporters, "The proposition that the display of the Australian flag should ever be banned anywhere in Australia is offensive and it will be to millions of Australians,"

Sometimes I wish our politicians could perhaps have a bit of "Australian balls" so to speak. In fact I wish our cricketers did too!