Guide to political blogging 2007

 Iain Dale has been beavering away in his bunker, burning the candle at both ends, and has pulled together the much awaited Guide to Political Blogging in the Uk 2007-8.

To find out what's inside this 288 page book why not listen to what the editor has to say himself…

Iain Dale on the Guide to Political Blogging in the UK – 2007 – 08

If you want to order a copy well why not click the politicos link to the right hand column!

Time to face the Paxman music?

For those of you who missed it, David Cameron took part in a Newsnight Special last night in which he was grilled by four editors/presenters for the entire duration of the show.  There are still some people who doubt David Cameron both inside and outside the Conservative Party, but his performance on Newsnight was superb.  He was strong, concise, stood up for what he believed in and was able to throw back every accusation made at him.  You can watch it for yourself HERE.
Mike Smithson on was very positive about David Cameron's performance this morning, but did wonder why both Cameron and Brown have yet to face Jeremy Paxman?….

Tom Richmond

Roger Helmer responds to Goldsmith Gummer report

 Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP for the East Midlands has posted a very interesting piece in response to the suggested content of the Goldsmith Gummer report on his blog here.

He took the time to talk to Tory Radio and share his thoughts on the report. You can listen to the podcast here.

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Regional Fire centre to be based on a flood plain!

 Having a house on an estate called Riverside Village I am all too aware of the issues casued by the not so distant flooding throughout the East Midlands.

The impressive Conservative Parliamentary candidate for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen has uncovered a story that really beggars believe. Apparently Under Labour's regionalisation plans North West Leicestershire, and the rest of the East Midlands will be covered by the new centre at Willow Farm Business Park, Castle Donington.

Accordingt to Andrew, "These centres are meant to be able to co-ordinate disaster relief efforts, so locating it in an area likely to flood is absurd."  Too right!

Well we will all know who to blame the next time there is a flood, and we can't be helped because the fire service is floodded out too!

Andrew took the time to talk to Tory Radio and tell us a little more about these ridiculous plans. Click this link to listen.

Either it's safe or it isn't

Even when Parliament is not in session, the government's ability to screw up new initiatives remains as strong as ever, and this time it's the protection of children from abuse that's at stake.  The new database containing the address, medical and school details of every child in the country, named ContactPoint, is set to be introduced next year.  Not only have the government failed to clarify who will vet the users of the system (all 330,000 of them) and who will police the system once it is operational, but the government have decided to keep the children of celebrities and politicians OFF the database.  The extract below is from today's article in the Times:
Concerns have been intensified by the admission that, while every child under 18 in England will have a record, ministers have allowed some children to be given extra protection. The “shielding” mechanism will mean that information on the offspring of some politicians and celebrities could be left off the main database. A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said that shielding would be available for “children whose circumstances may mean that they, or others, are at increased risk of harm”. She added: “These decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the level of threat posed if their information becomes more widely available.” Children’s rights campaigners and computer security experts say that this amounts to an acknowledgment that the database will not be secure. “The Government acknowledges the risks by instituting these protocols on celebrity and vulnerable children but all children are potentially vulnerable,” Terri Dowty, of Action on Rights for Children, said.
Either it's safe or it isn't.  Make your mind up.

Tom Richmond

How hard do students have it?

Until recently, most banks give graduates a bit of a breather once they finish studying, knowing that they don't have a lot of cash lying around.  Interest-free overdrafts are commonplace in student bank accounts and the interest-free limit normally comes down gradually after completing a degree.  HSBC have decided that this is a bad idea and have today announced that graduates will start paying interest on their overdraft as soon as they leave university at a rate of 9.99% – unless they pay a flat rate of £10 a month to HSBC for the privilege of keeping their overdraft free of interest charges.
So who is your sympathy with?  Should we feel sorry for HSBC, who are being messed around by students that are slow to pay back their overdrafts or who open multiple accounts at university to take advantage of the interest-free overdrafts from different banks?  Or should we side with the students, who have had this announcement sprung on them without warning and are already under enough financial pressure as it is?

Tom Richmond