Tune Hotels playing the right melody for MPs?

Whenever I’ve had to stay in London on business I usually feel like I’ve been ripped off when I pay an extortionate amount for a hotel room which often just lets me down.

Then of course we have had the debate about MPs expenses. Is this the solution? A clean hotel convenient to Westminster at a cost of £35 a night. I do hope the Tune Hotel goes on the list of preferred suppliers for MPs and indeed public sector visits to London. I for one would certainly give it a go.

No need for a state owned block of flats for MPs when private sector innovation can provide a cost effective solution such as this, or am I missing something.


Seven Days Show on @toryradio with @iaindale

The latest edition of the Seven Days Show (episode 38) is now online. In the show this week we talk about Crispin Blunt coming out and whether the sexuality of your Member of Parliament should matter; he none news story that political parties fund raise at party conferences; whether it’s the right decision to replace NHS direct; the fact that no tax cuts before 2015 should come as no surprise; why I believe prison still works and Iain doesn’t; why the fact that Chris Kelly MP has recommended his sister for a job in Parliament is again just not a story; what appearing on the latest episode of any questions was like; and finally whether betting has now called into question the integrity of many sports.

To listen to the podcast click the play button above.

Subscribe to Tory Radio on Itunes here.

Scargill out of the NUM?? Surely not

Wonder if he is listening to this tonight.

Mind you, I thank my lucky stars Jim never fixed it for me!!!

ASBOs not the answer

Tom Harris has written on the subject of ASBOs on his highly readable blog. For me the issue of ASBOs misses the point. An ASBO does not stop anti social behaviour. Broken windows policing does. How many instances do the law abiding majority need to give of anti social behaviour going unpunished?

In the last 12 months how about when someone on a moped drove across a neighbours front lawn. That time the police actually caught the culprit and said that they had tax and insurance so would write them a stiff letter. Oh come on!! What will that do? If I road across someones garden in my car I suspect I wouldn’t be treated like that.

Take the time when my satnav was  stolen out of my car. The police were not interested and never sent anyone.

Finally this week take the time when I saw someone driving past a toddlers play area on a motorbike, on a cycle path/ pavement with no helmet. Having called the police 60 seconds after the incident happened the response on the phone was that no one would come out as the culprit had gone. It isn’t ASBOs we want it’s a police force that will clamp down on the smaller pieces of anti social behaviour as doing that is proven to show that the bigger things also will not be tolerated.

We want broken windows policing and we want it now.

Party conference exhibitors

Mark Pack has a good piece on party conference and the fact that a certain council has spent considerable funds attending Labour conference. Iain Dale has followed up on that piece suggesting that perhaps other councils should now consider whether it is in the best interest of local council taxpayers for them to attend party conference.

Both good pieces, but how about some thoughts from someone who as part of their role was to organise the presence of a large organisation (Royal Mail) at the three party conferences.

The cost to Royal Mail and therefore indirectly the taxpayer was well (and I mean well) into six figures every year as they attended each of the three party conferences. Frankly none of the parties should feel more virtuous than the others as just for the space to exhibit they charged circa £15,000 for the three/four day event. That doesn’t cover the cost of the stand (which at best would last for three years before the need for a total rebuild) ,the staff cost, the cost of transportation, the hotel costs, and indeed the extra corporate passes (another way to make money) which cost up to £400 a piece. I wonder how many public sector organisations will be paying that amount for party conferences passes.

The interesting bit about Royal Mail when I was there was that they attended the three main party conferences for the very reason that they knew they had to stay apolitical. It would have made much more financial sense to attend the party of Government but that would not be the done thing. What was interesting in the case of Royal Mail is that regular conference goers will know they provide a post office service where people can post their items and buy stamps etc. It didn’t make money. It was to offer a service to delegates. It needed the post office computer system set up (at a cost) and proper post office branch staff, along with passes for the postmen at each conference venue to collect the mail.

And guess what? Until we made sure there was a renegotiation, the part of the stand that offered the service also cost Royal Mail (and the taxpayer) money, and the parties were happy to charge. So out of the say £20,000 just for the space of the Royal Mail stand, half (therefore a cost of say £10,000) was actually offering delegates a service.

My understanding is that this now doesn’t happen, and they only charge for the corporate side of things. But there lies the issue. If MPs want a Royal Mail stand and a post box and post office representatives to talk to perhaps Royal Mail should be able to attend free of charge?

Can a party of Government justify charging an organisation to provide apost office service when over the last few years they have been closing the same service up and down local communities? Just asking?

ComRes poll analysis from Andrew Hawkins

Chairman of polling organisation ComRes, Andrew Hawkins has recorded a superb podcast analysing some of the finding from their GMTV/ComRes/Daily Mirror poll looking at the state of the parties and public perception of the coalitions proposals.

Click the play button above to listen to the podcast


Seven Days Show with @iaindale

The latest edition of the Seven Days Show (episode 37) is now online.

In the Show this week we talk about Charles Kennedy and his rumoured defection; the recent A level results; Labour and how close it is to bankruptcy; party conference and the potential for a terror attack; local police commissioners; the No To AV campaign, and anal glands (who would have thought).

To listen to the podcast click the play button above

Subscribe to Tory Radio on Itunes here

Labour took the country where they took their party

The more I see of Lord Prescott the more I am starting to like him in his new role. I tell you he looks lots slimmer and seems to be loving campaigning to be treasurer of his party. Maybe I’m going soft in my old age. I know when I was involved in politics in Chesterfield the Tories got on well enough with the very left wing Labour representatives. You knew where you stood, and there was of course he mutual hatred of the Lib… oh enough of that.

In some rather candidd comments JP suggests that the Labour party faces bankruptcy.  Now forgive me, but that is exactly the same situation the same people left the country, yet their leadership contenders seem intent of sticking their heads in the sand and are trying to convince people that oh no, to not make any cuts is the right thing and that spending more is what is required.

Face up to the facts. Labour  took the country to the brink of bankruptcy just as they have taken their party down that same path. Frankly I am not too concerned as to how Labour sort their party out (though what price more Union funding I wonder) but the tough decisions that are going to be forced upon us are down to the mismanagement of the Labour Government, and we should not be afraid to remind people of that time and time again.

What's the point in trying to help the police?

I went to town today to pay some cheques in. On the way to the car I came across the unappealing site of a drunk bloke and his wife balling at him, having a bit of a domestic. I thought, should I call the police – given the station is a minute away – but thought better of it, as my cynical self suspected they wouldn’t be interested.

Our house has a lovely grassed play area opposite an there is a foot path that goes round the estate that cyclists and dog walkers all enjoy. At around 3:00pm down the path comes a 20-30 year olf on his motorbike, no helmet etc etc.

This happened around a week ago just as I got back from London so I called the police to let them know – as it could be a real danger to the toddlers who play there, and frankly if the guy is riding along a footpath with no helmet what are the odds he has insurance, tax etc…

As the guy drives by I have my blackberry in hand and call the local police number who then put me through to the local police station- lets say 3 minutes car journey away. I get thanked and told they won’t send an officer as the guy has gone past. So me the law abiding citizen wanting to do his bit to help the police is effectively being told that because the chap is literally gone 60 seconds ago they won’t do anything.

Now yes I appreciate it isn’t the crime of the century – but a) why should we as law abiding residents put up with such behaviour b) why do the police make a judgement that they cant be bothered to send anyone to at least have a scout round for the guy c) why on earth would I bother reporting such an incident again?

And the final point is the one that annoys me that most. Maybe that’s why “crime” is falling. Lack of action on the part of the police means people like me won’t report such an incident. This really is why I am in favour of elected police commissioners. Nottinghamshire has come bottom of the rankings in terms of policing, and I would just love someone to grab hold of the force and implement a broken windows approach to policing, to send a message that anti social and illegal behaviour should not and will not be tolerated.

If it isn’t don’t for one minute think that criminals dont know that the police cant be bothered to even look at certain crimes. Unfortunately at the moment I am asking myself what is the point in trying to help the police?

Any answers – please??

People have lost the work ethic

The debate about the so called workshy and benefit cheats really hits home with me. My take on it is that some people, in fact thousands or indeed millions have completely lost the  work ethic, and I say this as someone who has a family member who is the beneficiary of benefits, and has been for many years.

My father in law (before I knew him) suffered a brain haemorrhage when he was 19. He suffered another in his 40s, and two years later they diagnosed him with kidney failure and he has now been a dialysis for over 15 yeas and is the longest serving patient in Lincolnshire. He spends 3 days a week in hospital, has had toes amputated, and now had two lots of cancer removed.

Throughout his working life he has been a grafter and has never been shy of a days hard work. That is where my wife gets her work ethic from.It is interesting to compare someone like him, who would have loved nothing more than to be able to continue in employment with some people today who have never worked a day in their life.

Some people would use the excuse that because they were brought up in a single parent family explains why they are on benefits or haven’t ever had a job. Funny – I have always recognised the value in having a job and when I was out of a job got off my backside and realised that I didn’t get one staying in bed until midday, and guess what… my parents got divorced.

It strikes me that part of the problem with regards over generous benefits is that the work ethic needs to be re-instilled into people. It cannot be right that people are better off on benefits than in work, and why doesn’t someone say it. The benefits system in many cases (not all) is over generous which makes having a job not the rational choice. It will be a brave Minister who says we need to cut benefits, but that is what needs to be done to bring back the work ethic.