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