Helmer challenges Miliband (Ed that is)

Roger Helmer MEP

Roger Helmer MEP

East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer hosted a very interesting Climate Change Conference in Brussels last week. He recorded a podcast about the event which you can listen to by clicking this link.

Today it seems as though Ed Miliband, Minister for Energy and Climate Change has described the Conference as a “Conference of Climate Change deniers”. You can listen to Roger’s response in a must listen podcast for anyone interested in the climate by clicking this link.

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Priti Patel on rural services and post office closures

Priti Patel

Priti Patel

Last week Priti Patel recorded the first in a series of exclusive podcasts for Tory Radio. The first one looked at the hugely important issue of rual services, and in particular post office closures.

To hear what our candidate for the new Witham constituency had to say click the play button above.

Ex Minister Oppenheim gives his view on European appointments

Former Minister and current political blogger gives his view on the recent European appointments.

Speaking about the appointment of Baroness Ashton as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, he comments,

“So from unelected legislator to unelected minister to unelected “high representative”.  I don’t know whether she is going to be good at her job or not, but I seem to remember Labour coming in mouthing fine words about democratic reforms. Is this what they meant?”

Click the play button above to listen to the full podcast

Seven Days Show podcast with Iain Dale

SevenDaysShowWelcome once again to The Seven Days Show podcast hosted by myself and Iain Dale. In this week’s episode we talk about the Queen’s Speech; the Electoral Commission’s bizarre decision to allow a donation to the Lib Dems; our new European President (including two awful impressions of a Liverpudlian accent); the awful possibility of a hung Parliament; the terrible floods in Cumbria – and why the climate change fanatics will use it as further evidence of man made climate change and finally the possibility of locally elected Police Commissioners.

Iain was as always forthright with his opinions….. though why he thinks I won’t get into the Chelsea squad I don’t know… I could of course just pass some legislation – as that make things happen (like cutting the deficit in half).

If you want to download the podcast to your computer, you can of course us this direct link, alternatively just click the play button at the top of this post.

If I were in charge of the police

Time for broken windows policing

Time for broken windows policing

For a long time I was against having locally elected politicians in charge of policing. I lived in the States as a kid ad always thought that to get elected to a policing role left it open to corruption.

My views have changed – and they have changed because I, like so many others have been let down by the police. I should be the kind of person who respects and values what the police force does. Unfortunately my experience means that feeling has been sorely tested.

A year or so ago we had something stolen from our car which was parked on our driveway feet from our front door. To cut a long story short, when reported we were asked what job we had (the relevance of that question I’m not sure) yet to this day we have never seen a police officer or a PCSO.

Despite more than one letter to the police officer who looks after the local area, all we have had is a letter giving us some stats about how certain crime have fallen. Of course that will be because people like me will no longer report property crime – it doesn’t get investigated. So now we pay a monthly fee for an alarm system as if someone knows they can pinch stuff out of something feet from my front door – will the house be next?

Now if I was in charge of police there would be many things I would love to do locally. First of all I would have questioned why a nice new police station is built – yet it appears to be closed out of office hours. Well I mean – criminals only work 9-5pm don’t they.

Then I would instigate some sort of system to get police out into the community. Onto the streets. They say they don’t want to be tied to doing paperwork – so fine, lets find a way if ensuring paperwork doesn’t get in the way of the job – policing!

That means Uniformed officers walking the streets and not always in pairs. Many forces don’t send officers out in pairs. And sorry – if they say its for safety. When I walk home, I don’t get to walk in a pair for my safety, so police officers perhaps could walk alone too.

Then of course a policy of broken windows policing would be adopted. You clamp down on the small stuff – so that people don’t think they can get away with it. Someone gets caught doing graffiti? You make their life hell. Take ’em off for a night in the cells or whatever. They don’t just get told they are a naughty boy they suffer the consequences. Someone riding a bike without lights on? You make them come to the cop shop and show they have lights on their bike.

You essentially make law breakers lives hell, so that for the first time it is the law abiding majority who feel they are being looked after. I am fed up of police driving by illegal activity that I can see, and they do nothing. They seem happy to pull people over they think are speeding (such as my wife at 5:30am – who actually wasn’t hence carried on with her journey) but when was the last time a police officer did anything to stop anti social behaviour? I mean – what about the two yobbos who rode over a neighbours garden on their moped. By change the police (who I called) actually caught the two yobbos as they hadn’t scarpered. And what did the police say they had done? Sent them a warning letter!! Those warning letters – such a deterrent!

Local people up and down the country are crying out for the police to take a tough approach to crime, but no one seems to be doing it. What about my wife’s late grandad, who after a yobbo gave his wife a mouthful of abuse prodded the little so and so with his walking stick (he was in his 80’s at the time). Guess what – the 80 year old got a caution – but the police said they agreed with what he had done! Hang on! You didn’t have to caution him, you chose to. Of course this is the same yobbo who has a collection of bikes in the shed next to his flat that the police say they know are nicked but cant do anything about!

We read that the police want larger forces to tackle the major investigations. Sorry – but what people want when they are a victim of crime is to know that the crime in questions is being investigated. They want to see a police officer – as a matter of course. If senior police officers don’t like this, then I’m afraid they are the ones who aren’t living in the real world, not politcians.

Power to the people – plans to help local people save and run community facilities

Now I’m not one to normally print a whole press release, but the new policy outlined in tonights PPB is worth repeating. The following is from a press release from Caroline Spelman:-

Radical new powers will be given to local residents to protect community assets from closure and allow local people to take over the running of public buildings and community assets, Conservatives announced today. In a Party Political Broadcast to coincide with the Queen’s Speech, new policies are unveiled to create a ‘Community Right to Buy’ and allow not-for-profit community groups to take over the running of struggling local facilities, from post offices to pubs to parks.
 
These new powers will help protect thousands of buildings owned by town halls and other public bodies, including libraries, lidos, playgrounds, parks, schools and sports facilities. And in a bold new step, community groups will be given first refusal to take over and run failing local pubs, shops or post offices, which would devastate the local community if they were to close their doors.
 
New Conservative analysis has revealed that under Labour there are 5,400 fewer post offices across England, 200 fewer libraries and 3,500 fewer pubs (in net terms). Gordon Brown promised to promote community ownership when he became Labour leader, yet his own town hall watchdog, the Audit Commission, has criticised the ‘limited’ transfer of assets to community groups and the failure to meet the Government’s ‘aspirations’. Under new Conservative plans:
 
Community groups, such as schools, churches or voluntary groups, will be able to bid to take over the running of publicly owned community assets, if they can manage the facility more efficiently and effectively than the state.

When a state-owned community asset faces closure or being sold, voluntary groups will have a right of first refusal to bid and buy that asset for a fair price and maintain it for community use. The rights to community ownership will extend across assets owned by central government and quangos, not just town halls.

The radical ‘Community Right to Buy’ will also allow community group first refusal to take over and run commercially-owned community assets that are closing, for example those post offices, pubs and shops whose continued survival is of genuine importance to the local community.
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Caroline Spelman said: 

“Under Labour, local neighbourhoods have lost access to essential local services and facilities. Gordon Brown’s Government has closed post offices and driven local pubs into the ground. People feel powerless to stop their communities losing access to vital services and facilities.
 
“Conservatives will give bold new powers to local people to protect and improve their much-loved community assets and preserve the social fabric of their neighbourhoods.”

I have to say I like the sound of that. The only thing I would say is that when post offices close they are in actual fact private businesses – so any new group would have to find somewhere to put the new sub-office – as the accomodation is usually owned by the previous subpostmaster calling it a day.

Of course they have been situated in pubs, hairdressers and even an undertakers – and I see now reason – given adequate security provision, that sub post offices couldnt sit very well with a local village hall.

All in all a welcome policy I would have thought.

Conservatives new Party Political Broadcast