Telegraph TV with Iain Dale

In spite of the mic not picking up my booming voice I still think I won the battle of the Duchamp ties.

With party conference best apparoaching I think I will have to dust off some of the podcast equipment and get some great interviews pencilled in. Just who would you like to hear from? Francis Maude – about preparations for the first 100 days of a Conservative Government? Iain Dale about how Total Politics? Some of our PPC’s who look like they will be MP’s come the next election?

Email and let us know.


Whatever happened to the Military Covenent

This weekend I had a very interesting conversation with a Royal Navy officer who had just returned from the Middle East where he had been for 6 months. His tone was one of someone who was desperate for a Government to start treating the Armed Forces with the understanding and respect it deserves.
Firstly he made the point that virtually no one in the Labour Party understands the armed forces because less than a handful have ever served, and indeed the Defence Secretary is only part time. Because they have no background, they have to take the advice they are given by the heads of the armed forces and here lies the problem.

This problem is twofold. Firstly you have the heads of the Army, Navy and RAF all competing to be head of the armed forces. These people aren’t going to want to be outspoken and risk not being seen as sound for the top job. This leads to the conspiracy of silence whereby when a Minister visits, troops are told not to say anything about equipment shortages. Secondly, the heads of the services experience of war and combat is very different to the challenges faced today.

Then of course there is the equipment issue. We’ve all heard tales about white Elephants like the Eurofighter, but while we’ve undertaken such excessive capital expenditure on projects like that, we’re putting our troops on risk by not providing the most basic of lifesaving equipment. An example of which being the officer’s tale of being given a stab proof but not a bullet proof vest. This is on a ship within a stones throw of both Iraq and Iran. It seems a warped sense of priority that the Government is currently spending £12 billion on what will in all probability be an ineffective central computer system, but can’t find the money for £200 bullet proof vests.

Then there is the hospital facilities. Again the officer told me how when he was hospitalised with a broken collar bone, that there was a soldier in desert combats who had been flown back to Brize Norton and taken up to the Selly Oak Hospital. He had his leg blown off and was sitting waiting in casualty. The hospital must have been aware he was on his way, yet with that severe injury bought about serving his Country is left to sit in casualty amongst civilians. This is not right.
So what can we do to put things right. Well here’s a few ideas to ponder: 
A dedicated military Hospital in it’s own right. Not one welded onto an existed Hospital.

A body of serving lower and middle ranking soldiers advising the Government on what is really happening on the ground. With steps taken to see there are no reprisals from above for telling the truth.
All our troops to be given proper equipment. This should be a given but is simply not happening. Serious money will have to be spent. Maybe savings from not indulging in so many white elephant projects in areas such as Government IT.
A review into our Armed Services Structures. The officer told me of a Navy Lieutenant who had to fill in for an army officer behind a machine gun in Afghanistan without a clue of how to handle it. While the Army is at total overstretch, the Navy and particularly the RAF are having to think about their role in war zones like landlocked Afghanistan.
It most be the moral duty of a Conservative Government to sort out the crisis that Labour are plunging our Armed Services into. Many people in the services are relying on us and we most not fail them.

What is the purpose of the police?

Can someone please tell what the purpose of the police actually is?  Every year the amount I contribute to the police authority seems to increase but I’m really not sure why. Is it to send the local police officers based in Newark where I live over to Nottingham to deal with crime there?

Last week we were unfortunate enough to have something stolen out of our car which was parked on our drive. This took place between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. A call was made to inform the police but all they were seemingly interested in was our ethnic background and what job we did for their monitoring form. (I honestly kid you not!!)

Two days later we received a call from Worksop (a town 20 miles away) no less, who apologised because they were behind in keeping up with crimes being committed. We then finally received a crime reference number.  When we asked if it was possible that we would get to see a member of the police force it was suggested that it was highly unlikely. We asked if there had been any other crimes committed that evening in the area and told no – nothing.

Then in the Advertiser this week it was reported at least one other theft had taken place on the same street during Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.  On Sunday we called the police again to see if they had been linked.

Initially we were told they had a system that would of course link them, but later on in the conversation we were told it is down to the public to report the thefts and to link them themselves. Funny – as I always assumed detectives should do the detective work!

Then we received another call to tell us that we would have had someone from the police come out if they thought they could get any forensic evidence. When I pointed out that because they had taken so long to get back to us following the original reporting of the crime – over 48 hours – they had to admit their tardiness indeed probably meant there would be no evidence worth collecting.

Then today on Sunday having called the police for a third time we get a call back saying that they believe we told someone we didn’t want to see anyone from the police – and in effect they thought the matter was closed. Oh and that they haven’t yet done any house to house enquiries.

Is it me, or are they sending the message out that there is no point in reporting crime as they don’t have the time to deal with it? You call the local police station and get put to one 20 miles away. You report a crime and they don’t get back to you for a couple of days. When they do they tell you there will be no evidence to look at – so there is now nothing they can do. Next time why would I even bother to report the crime in the first place?

Which brings me back to my original point… what is the purpose of the police?? – As they aren’t protecting me, and don’t seem to want to investigate certain crimes anymore!


nothing better to do?

Even if you agree with it, I sometimes wonder if some politicians have nothing better to do. So do the MPs who have signed the Early Day motion pushing for an alternative to the oath of loyalty MPs make to the Queen really think that this is the issue that their constituents care most about?

The housing matket has ground to a standstill. Food prices continue to increase. As winter approaches who knows what the enrgy bills may be like. But hey… lets all take time to bugger around with the oath MPs take after an election.

Fancy an argument?

Political message boards are increasing in popularity, particularly as a forum for provoking debate. The argue with everyone site is one such message board where you can essentially do exactly what it says – argue with everyone. There are posts on a whole host of specific political issues, so if you are the kind of person who likes to have a rant and get something off your chest this really could be of interest.

Gritty Northerner and proud

Ever since Francis Maude made the comment about Gritty Northerners and Mincing metrosexuals it has been a bit of a running joke amongst friends as to which one applied to me.

You will have to watch my appearance on Telegraph TV with Iain Dale to see which side of the debate he falls on.

Today another debate about "The North" kicked off following a report published by Policy Exchange which allegedly (I havent read it) has said that some Northern cities have almost lost their reason to exist, and that mass migration to London could almost be helpful.

As someone who regards themself as a Northern (coming from Chesterfield_ can I say that’s complete tosh. Now I actually live in Newark in Nottinghamshire (which for most people in London is way North). I have absolutely no desire too migrate to the south or London. The transport infrastructure is creaking, housing is too expensive and in my view you have an appalling standard of living if you live in London.

In actual fact both myself and my wife work in central London – yet between us we pay more than £15,000 a year to commute. Why? Because we cannot wait to leave at the end of the day. We go back to our five bedroom house with a nice garden with the countryside minutes away and smile every night when we do. Of course even if we wanted to, are we really saying the south and London in particular can cope with mass migration? Perhaps someone should tell the schools, hospitals, rail companies, tube network and so on…..

People in London think the world revolves round it. People outside know it doesnt.

Crisps contributing to CO2 crisis

A friend on the train home bought a packet (a rather large one) or crisps on the way home.

Having offered me one I had a look at the back of the bag to see how many calories there were (quite a scary thoght). I happened to notice a little box which then told the consumer how much C02 was used in the production of the product courtesy of the Carbon Trust. Apparently this bag of 50g of crisps needed over 100g of C02 to produce it.

That got me to thinking. Industrie such as steel making get hit for being so bad for the environment. Now Tim Jervis has this stat on his blog:- claim they put out 14.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent gasses in 2004/2005 to produce 5.72 million tonnes of steel product, which suggests around 2.5 kg CO2 per kg of steel.

So C02:steel prodution is 2.5:1

C02:Crisp production is 2:1

What does this show us? All human activity in some way damages the environment. Once that is accepted perhaps we can think of better ways to protect the environment – but this constant banging on about C02 is absolute nonesense as human activity by its very nature is CO2 intensive.

Having kids is probably the worse thing in the world you can do to damage the environment – but are we going to advocate that not having kids is being environmentally virtuous? No. At the same time lets not pretend that stopping using plastic bags is really doing anything except making ourselves feel a bit better about ourselves while we carry on behaving as we always have.

We better not let the crisps stat get out mind you. If we arent careful they will be taxed for being unhealth and taxed again for being environmentally unfriendly.


How much is your blog worth?

Have you ever wondered how much your blog or website is worth?

Now you can Value your website so you can find exactly how much it is worth. I suspect at this point won’t make me a rich man….. well not just yet.

The valuation tool has been built in conjunction with Sitepoint, the world’s biggest marketplace for websites. It values sites based on what similar sites are achieving at auction.

It really is worth giving it a go. All you have to do is input a few details about your website and then you’re away. It provides a lot of useful detail, graphs, charts and predictions in its detailed Valuation Report. Unfortunately this website had a value which meant it just wasn’t worth selling. Though of course I guess there is certainly a superb incentive to make it better.


Pick of the podcasts

For those of you who have something to get off your chest (obviously politically based) feel free to call our 24hr hotline – 0845 257 0 427 and leave a message after the tone….. we may use it in a podcast!

We are very conscious we haven’t done as many podcasts as we would have liked so in the meantime, while we ratched up our production schedule, over the next few days we will be bringing you some of our highlights from the last couple of years! Make sure you bookmark to ensure you don’t miss anything.

An alternative to Dragons Den?

I think one of my favourite programmes on TV is Dragons Den. Partly because of some of the crazy ideas people come up with and partly for the great put downs, no matter how cruel they seem to be.

It did get me to thinking how inventors can get their product to market. Most inventors are eager to rush out and get a patent for their idea often spending huge amounts of money in the process with absolutely no guarantee of success.

They simply don’t understand that manufacturers are not going to come to them… they must be proactive and seek them out. With over 98% of new inventions failing to get to the market place can the cost of patent work really be justified without first determining if there is a market for a given product? Design Mind Group offers a more practical solution:

Who is Design Mind Group, and how can they help me with my invention?

â–ª They research and locate top manufacturers for your product
â–ª They will find the key people to contact at these firms about your idea
â–ª Their Marketing Team will prepare a professional product introduction
â–ª They will contact these top manufacturers confidentially on your behalf
â–ª They will provide a confidential general product description
â–ª They will provide a secure online interface for manufacturers to respond
â–ª They will provide all necessary confidential agreements
â–ª There are no setup fees
â–ª No application fee

Each time a manufacturer is contacted, they will provide you with all of the details. Including: market capitalisation, research and development budget, assets, number of employees, employee growth, revenue, income, income growth, and other key information.

British companies have a habit  of inventing things and then letting some other organisation get rich on the idea. Perhaps Design Mind Group can reverse that trend.