It's not so good to talk

Do you remember when they brought the law in which made it illegal to use your phone while driving. Has it made any difference? Have you seen hundreds no thousands of people happily holding their phone while driving?

Well it now appears that the penalty will rise from the end of Feb to 3 points and a £60 fine. I have an inbuilt car kit so if anyone calls my hands never have to leave the wheel. I actually think people shouldn't use their phones while in the car without a carkit, and welcome moves to stop this kind of behaviour (though Ive always thought holding a burning cigarette while driving is potentially as lethal).

My issue here is where are the police to actually enforce this rule? I think somewhere like Derbyshire has about 20 odd police cars for the whole county – so I wonder just who will be handing out those 3 points for the chap on the M1 sending a text and nearly running me off the road. Nice idea but if our laws are unenforceable I have to ask why have them in the first place.

A weekend a long time in politics

I have a self imposed break from posting over the last few days as I continue to try to sort my house out and so much happens.

Ruth Turner has a chat with the police.

There is the possibility of splitting the Home Office in two

We decide that perhaps NHS targets arent always the best things for the patients

….and shock horrow Ming Campbell (he's the Lib Dem leader you know) suggests life should mean life.

 I better put off the painting hadn't I!

Donate and get a band

To those of you who have kindly donated using the paypal button at the top of the left hand colum a big thank you – You've helped us buy a couple of more jingles for the podcasts.

If you want to donate any amount to Tory Radio – please feel free to do so through Paypal – and as a special treat I will send you a limited edition VOTE BLAIR OUT wristband. Go on – you know you want one!!

Recycling all my stuff

Apologies for the lack of posts, however I am decluttering my house in anticipation for an exchange date being set soon and then finally being able to move.

I was going to throw alot of my old stuff away -but thought I may have a go at putting it on ebay. Anyway I am now about ₤200 better off after selling 3 items that I wont have to take to the tip! Now that's what I call recycling!

I may be gone some time as I dismantle 4 kitchen chairs, a table and a futon….

EXCLUSIVE – John Redwood Interview

 Tory Radio took the opportunity to interview the former Secretary of State for Wales, and current Chairman of the policy group on Economic Competitiveness, John Redwood MP.

To find out what John thinks about current Conservative environmental policy, UKIP, Gordon Brown and much more click the link below.

Click to listen or download

Run down of the John Redwood interview – any mistakes are all my fault! 

You are an ex Shadow Environment Minister – do you think the party is right to grasp the green agenda?

Yes I do thinks its right. I think a very large number of voters are concerned about environmental issues. People are concerned about their local area, planning issues, road congestions. They are worried about the big international issues.

It has recently been suggested that one way to make people go green is to effectively increase taxes – certainly on things such as low cost flights and even look at taxes domestic flights our of existence. Is this something you could support?

I think G O and DC have set out a very sensible position. They've saidlets  by all means lets tax bad- lets tax things that cause pollution –  but this should not be an increase in the overall tax burden. There has to be some balance in it. It's not new. There have always been extremely large environmental taxes in Britain on the use of the car and the van in the UK

We will come onto the competitiveness agenda later – Isn't their a dichotomy between the party pushing the notion of more environmental taxes in the UK, yet also wanting to me globally competitive.   Is there the possibility that higher environmental taxes will unfairly burden British business – and is there any solution to this?

There are solutions. You need to have a judicious balance. You need to make sure that if you are imposing very high anti pollution taxes you don't simply drive business offshore to countries with much lower pollution standards than we enjoy at home…. Yes there is a constraint on how far you can go in any individual country in imposing environmental taxes and you need to make sure that into account when coming to a sensible judgment. I think its also important that you don't turn environmental taxes into a way of stopping the porr traveling for example. So yes you need some balance.

Two ex Conservative Lords have defected. Two donors are toying with the idea of supporting UKIP. Are they a threat?

I don't think they're a significant threat to the party. I think they are a threat to the Eurosceptic cause which I'm personally unhappy about. because I am a very strong Euro Sceptic. The danger with UKIP intervention is that at the margin they can take votes from a Euro sceptic Conservative candidate and give a Federalist Lib Dem or Labour candidate the chance of winning.

Are there likely to be any defections of Tory MPs to UKIP?

I can see absolutely no chance of that happening.

Do you think the party needs to talk about Europe more?

I think DC wanted to send a very clear message that we were interested in other things as well as Europe….. It doesn't mean DC has dumped our passion about a fairer settlement for Britain and more independence for Britain.

Would you even be minded to support the better off out campaign?

 I don't think that's a terribly helpful development. We've had so many of these things

I think the Eurosecptic movement has just got to learn to get on with each other better to be an effective movement. We know we have a majority of people in the country for all the main propositions, No Euro, No European constitition, No common army, no common foreign and security policy, no common borders. These are where the battles are now that we have to resist all those things. I think there is a strong majority in the country for getting back some of the powers gone where we  really need some domestic control.

You have always been a big advocate of less regulation, small Government and lower taxes. Do you believe the party needs to adopt a much stronger lower tax message?

They agree a lower tax Britain will be a more successful Britain. They will wish to move in that direction. I also hear them saying very clearly – three years before an election when you have a very spendthrift government in office it would not be sensible to set out exactly what you could afford to do in 4 or 5 years time and I entirely agree with them.

I don't think we are going to get a General Election early for us to win I think Mr Brown will fear defeat and will delay the election until 2010. In that case its very difficult to forecast at the moment what Mr Brown will be taxing and spending in 2010 let alone what changes we will want to make to it. I am entirely satisfied that the Conservative party is still the low tax option – it will be the low tax option at the next election

I mentioned that you are Chairing the policy Group on Economic Competitiveness. Can you give us a bit of an insight into what things you have been looking at.

Run down found at 13:00minutes on the interview

Gordon Brown has been Chancellor since Labour came to power. How do you rate him? What sort of successes has he had?

I think GB has been over rated. GBs period of office in 3 stages – 97 – 2000 He was a pretty good Chancellor in that he followed quite tight Conservative spending plans, he repaid a lot of debt, he kept inflation low, the economy performed quite well, he had a good inheritance and he didn't mess it up.

From 2000 – 2005 we had a different Gordon Brown who did just about everything wrong. He built up public spending far too quickly. Much of the money was wasted because he threw money at problems without thinking through what was really  needed and how the money could be spent intelligently. He went from repaying debt and having good control over the financial figures. To a position where he was borrowing far too much, taxing far too much and wasting far too much. And he's allowed inflation to pick up.

I think we've now entered the third phrase of GB when he's desperately trying to reign it back in. At time will tell whether he's able to reign it in sensibly and well. He's right to do so.

I trust the Conservative party will support him

If and when he becomes Prime Minister what changes do you think we will see – particularly from a tax and spend perspective. Should British business be worried for example?

I think GB will reap what he sowed as Chancellor. The days of the big increases in public spending are over. They may need some unpleasant tax rises on the way if they can't control spending quickly enough which would not be good for the British economy.

I think we are in for a rougher ride from this Government economically than we had at the end of the last century because of all the mistakes they made between 2000 – 2005

George Osborne is likely to be the next Conservative Chancellor. If you had to give him one piece of advice what would it be?

My strongest piece of advice would be to make sure he controls public spending from day one. There are always people coming forward with what sound like nice ideas for spending punlic money

There is so much money wasted in the public accounts, the question must be cant we pay for that in existing doing something better that we&#039
;re not doing very we
ll or cutting something we should be doing.

You have been an MP since 1987. What has been your greatest achievement?

I think the think I most enjoyed doing was making the case for privatization in the 1970s and then advising Margaret Thatcher how to do it in the 1980s.

Do you have any regrets?

My biggest regret that in the troubled 1990s I wasn't able to persuade the then Conservative Government to adopt a course that would have been more sensible. I was a long standing critic of the ERM before we went into it and when we were in it. My biggest regret was that I wasn't able to persuade the then Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer not to go into the ERM. It was going into the ERM that caused the trouble for the British economy and then the trouble for the Conservative Party

What one thing would you like to do with the rest of your political career?

I believe in my country and my burning ambition is to restore a vibrant democracy in Britain with the help of my colleagues. I want a Parliament that works I want more authority in Britain and less in Brussels. I want Parliament once again to be the centre of national debate and interest. I don't think it is at the moment because I think Parliament has been badly damaged by the so called reforms of this Government. More Quangos more devolution, less parliamentary debating time, fewer answers to Ministerial questions.

Standing room only?

Do you remember when they got rid of standing areas in what are now premiership grounds – on the grounds of safety. The last time I went football stadiums don't hurtle down the tracks at 100mph. Now according to this article from the Telegraph, commuters really shouldn't expect a seat on a train during peak hours to and from London.

Apparently Dr Mike Mitchell, director general of railways at the Department for Transport, said it was "not realistic" for us poor commuters to expect a seat on a London bound train during peak time.

The following exract from the Telegraph article says it all:-

When asked by Richard Bacon, south Norfolk MP, whether commuters paying £4,000 to £5,000 for a season ticket should be expected to stand, Dr Mitchell said: "If you are travelling a relatively short distance, I do not think that it is unacceptable to expect to stand in the peak."

Mr Bacon asked: "What do you call a short distance?"

Dr Mitchell replied: "Perhaps half an hour."

That's OK then – I travel well over an hour each way from Nottinghamshire for my 680 a month! Its you poor sods who live a bit closer who can stand.

Have you ever heard anything so outrageous? Government wants us to use public transport but wants us to travek in conditions we wouldn't expect animals to travel in. I find this kind of arrogance absolutely appalling. I hope Richard Bacon will be following this one up.

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Is the environment the least of our worries?

I would recoomend you read this piece from the Telegraph online. In my ignorance I actually had never heard of the Doomsday clock, and a part of me wishes I still hadn't.

Environmental change is a serious threat, however it seems nuclear proliferation is the issue we should most be concerned with. Food for thought!


A blogging cold war?

The political bloggers amongst us cant help to have noticed that two of the heavyweight bloggers have had a bit of a spat. Paul Linford has produced an excellent summary here.

Given how non threatening Tory Radio is (we aren't one of the superpowers you know) I thought I'd make an offer to let the two protaganists have it out so to speak on air, by doing a podcast of what issues they have.

Anyway, Guido seemed up for it – but only if was face to face and uncut. Tim Ireland thinks Guido has had a fair offer of a right to reply on his site. Guido thinks any right to reply would boost Tim's stats……and so on

Oh dear – what have I done?

I think I will join Paul Linford and site on that fence! This one could go on for a while.

2007 – The Big Bloggers

Well the poll of who is going to be a big blogger in 2007 threw up some interesting results:-

Cranmer topped the poll with 24.8% with Guido second on 17.1% followed by Con Home on 16.2%. Relative newcomer Prauge Tory took the fourth spot on 12.8% with Iain Dale being beaten into fifth on 7.7%

Tory Radio wasn't included in the poll to protect my pride!

Redwood interview – coming soon

Tory Radio has just finished conducting a fascinating interview with John Redwood. Make sure you come back later today to download the interview in full.

Here what John has to say on the environment, tax, UKIP and what else he hopes to achieve in his political career.