Brown's European Council Statement


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Click the download button to listen to Brown’s European Council Statement. The response from David Cameron and questions can be found at this link. 

And if you thought that was a marathon statement and response…… take a look at what I’ve got myself into

 

Biggest asset to the Tories – Gordon Brown

I’m currently watching the Prime Minister give a statement on the European Council to Parliament. I certainly suspect that there will be some interesting questions. The podcast will come as soon as the Statement and questions hav finished.

Every time I see the Prime Minister perform I not only have to think how many Labour MPs must really be missing Tony Blair, but also that one of the greatest assets the Tory Party has at the moment is the current incumbent at No. 10.

marathon podcast 1


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Well here it is – the first of my "marathon podcasts" to let people know how the training is going and why on earth I’m doing such a thing!

Let me know what you think either in the comments or by email at the usual address. Thanks to all those who have already contributed sponsorship, and to those who haven’t but may want to, you can visit www.justgiving.com/jonathansheppard2008 and donate online.

 

PMQs 12 December 2007


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Was there any Christmas spirit at PMQs or was it all bah humbug? To listen to today’s exchanges either click the download button or listen to it in our in built media player.

If this podcast puts you in the Christmas spirit – then why not help my worthwhile cause? A time when the phrase it will hurt me more than it hurts you really does apply!

London sightseeing

In four months and a day I will be doing a bit of sightseeing. Not the usual tour of London for it will be the London Marathon. I wish I had visited http://www.cheaperthanhotels.co.uk/United-Kingdom/London/ as I have just forked out a pretty penny for a hotel in Mayfair.

Mind you I’m not sure I will get a good night’s sleep if previous ocassions are anything to go by. I didn’t take advantage of these offers the previous two times I done the course either. Maybe I could use that as an excuse as to why people with very heavy rhino costumes flew by me well before Canary Wharf – or indeed why the 60 year old subpostmaster gave me a lesson in long distance running by soundly beating me in the 2000 marathon.

For those of you who have just found out you have a place – well done. You may well need a hotel so pay this site a visit as I know lots of London hotels are getting booked up already.

A big thank you to all who have sponsored me – we are very close to the £400 mark. For those of you who still want to donate click the just giving button in the right hand column.

Make sure you check back with the site tomorrow for the PMQs podcast!!

Grant Shapps MP launches the home buying review


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In a fascinating podcast (which you can download above, or listen to in our inbuilt media player) Grant Shapps, Shadow Housing Minister asks the question can we speed the house buying process up as part of the recently launched Home Buying Review.


Grant’s research seems to indicate that there are currently £340 million in abortive costs a year, when house sales fall through, something I can personally testify to. In fact I can estimate that the current flawed process of buying and selling a house probably cost me at least £5,000.


Grant makes an extremely senisble pledge to scrap HIPs whilst at the same time commits a future Conservative Government to retaining the energy performance certificate.

The home buying review is about finding other things to aid the process and you can have your own say by visiting www.homebuyingreview.com

You can of course let us know what you thing about the home buying process. Does it need to change – and if so what should be done.

Call 0845 257 0 427 and record your own message now.

(Leave your comment after the message telling you your call can’t be taken. Your comments may be used in a Tory Radio podcast).

a hard act to follow

It’s only a week until the gripping contest that is the Lib Dem leadership contest comes to a conclusion. It’s odds on the that Nick Clegg will prevail. Has the leadership election itself and following Vince Cable made his task a little trickier than it looked a few weeks ago though.
 
Before the leadership contest, Clegg had a profile similar to Ming Campbell’s few years ago. The man who should have run for leader and had a firm grip on his brief. During the leadership contest though, there have been one or two unedifying moments. His run in with Chris Huhne on the Politics Show over the ‘Calamity Clegg’ document, as well as undertones from the Huhne camp about lack of real life experience. As well as that, there has not been a lot of vision or ideas from Clegg, partly due to Lib Dem conferences making their policy. Much has been made about breaking the law on ID cards if they are bought in, but that’s student behaviour and not that of a statesman.
 
His biggest problem though is taking over from the successful deputy Vince Cable. Cable achieved something almost unheard of when he got the Lib Dems noticed in the House of Commons, with the line about Stalin to Mr Bean which could well stick to Gordon Brown. Clegg will struggle to better Cable in the Commons, and bearing in mind it was the Chamber that shaped the impression that Ming was not performing and incompetent, Clegg will need to be on top of his game for his first performance in the new year.
 
I wonder if he regrets not going for the deputy leadership. If he had, he could have been shown to have been the competent leader following the disastrous reign of Ming. In leaving the field open for Cable, he’s created another ‘he should have been leader figure’. Dangerous people to have around.

 

Terrifying changes to terror laws

Cynicism towards the Labour government is well-founded.  The recent donation scandal is alarming but not surprising, and it is even less surprising that the government has chosen to revisit the proposals to extend the detention period without charge, such is the controversial and headline-grabbing nature of Jacqui Smith’s plan (nicely deflecting attention away from Mr Abrahams et al).  What is baffling is that extending the 28-day detention period seems to be without purpose or objective, which is unusual for Labour as they normally try to sneak some hidden motive past the public’s nose even if it isn’t immediately apparent.  In the complete absence of any public or confidential evidence supporting changes to the law, the whole process seems absurd.  MPs don’t want the law changed and numerous legal experts also fail to see the logic.
 
Gordon Brown’s own Security Minister, Admiral Lord West of Spithead, did a spectacular U-turn on his views about these proposed changes.  After recently telling Radio 4’s Today programme that was not "fully convinced" of the need to raise the detention limit, he emerged from a meeting with Gordon Brown about an hour later saying "My feeling is, yes, we need more than 28 days,".  His subsequent remark was even more revealing: "I personally absolutely believe that within the next two to three years, we will require more than that for one of these complex plots."  So, in short, Gordon Brown’s own Security Minister admits that there has never been a case where a limit above 28 days would have helped.

 

Merry Xmas from Tory Radio

Well I’ve finally got my Christmas cards posted, and to those of you who like virtual cards, I thought I’d give you a special treat which you can see here.

Just think what fun you can have putting your favourite politician in an elf suit and having them strut their stuff. I’ve had David Cameron and even Iain Dale – but it just didn’t seem right. I’m sure you can come up with some excellent ones yourself. Maybe even Andrew Neil? Or an elf like Adam Boulton?

May we be the first to wish you the best for the festive period!

The rights of the murderer?

I always have to raise an eyebrow when I read stories which talk about the rights of convicted murderers.

I have to say that this story which states, and I quote, " The human rights of a murderer and his wife were breached when they were not allowed to have a child by artificial insemination, it has been ruled" is one such instance when my eyebrow gets raised.

It reminds me of the case during the election when I was asked to comment about the rights of a convicted murderer who again was claiming their human rights had been breached because the Health Service at the time would not pay for gender re-assignment. You can probably guess what my comments were!

Frankly I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing about the rights of convicted murderers and the like. Surely the whole point of being convicted is that you lose certain rights, or am I missing something?

If we are seriously going to talk about human rights then what about the rights of the victim? Perhaps the European Court of Human Rights would like to start protecting the law abiding amongst us first, but maybe that’s just too much to ask.