Prisoners votes will cause Cameron real issues with his backbenchers


I have made no secret of the fact that I am a ‘lock em up’ kind of person when it comes to criminals. Lets  just say I am of the Michael Howard school of thought when it comes to putting people behind bars. It will come as no surprise that I am therefore no fan of giving prisoners the vote. I do however recognise the difference between what I’d like and what in actual fact seems to be the legal situation.

If you ask many backbenchers about the issue of prisoners votes they will be quite adamant that they aren’t in favour. In his local paper Andrew Percy has essentially said he would allow prisoners the vote when Hell freezes over.

Andrew Bridgen the MP for NW Leicestershire is sceptical of the merits of giving prisoners the vote in this excusive podcast.   In another exclusive podcast Prit Patel the MP for the Essex seat of Witham raises the issue of how the UK is being forced to do this, even though it does not want to by Europe.

Indeed for me the interesting issue is the fact that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe met to discuss this issue yesterday. Attendees including the likes of Brian Binley, Christopher Chope and Claire Perry went out there with two voting for a report which essentially confirms that if prisoners votes are not implemented sanctions against the UK can be taken, with Claire Perry abstaining.  Surely I have misunderstood. These three Conservatives would vote no to such a thing? Please say it is my misunderstanding as to what happened yesterday. A parliamentarian wouldnt take the 260ish Euros they get for attending (plus business class travel) speak against and then abstain would they? I must be wrong? Correct me someone!

You may not expect a convicted killer to be an expert on prisoners votes, but I’m afraid you may be mistaken. Tory Radio took the opportunity to speak to John Hirst, known as jailhouselawyer to many online. I think it safe to say that he knows this issue inside out. If anyone can take on the establishment and win then he should certainly not be underestimated, no matter what you think of him.

In five years I have done sone interesing interviews, but if you listen to anything on Tory Radio, listen to the 50 minute interview I did with John Hirst yesterday, where he explains that talk of only offering votes to prisoner serving less than 4 years (let alone less then 12 months) will just not wash, and that the UK, in spite of comments from the likes of Jack Straw and even David Cameron, will be forced to give all prisoners the vote.

For Eurosceptics such as myself it gives added reasons to tell the ECHR and the EU where to go, and certainly underlines who governs this country.

Who pays for police lobbying?

I have no issue with lobbying. In my mind it leads to better more thought out legislation. I myself think I should lobby all MPs to get rid of Early Day Motions as I think they are a waste of money, not very effective, and something better could be introduced at a much lower cost to the taxpayer.

It comes as no surprise that the police are actively lobbying MPs, specifically on the subject of their pension. I actually applaud the likes of Nigel Tompsett for not being an armchair general like so many people in society and actually doing something.

The issue I have is that many of these letters are reaching MPs, having being franked and therefore paid for by the local police authority. Hmmm should the local police authority really be funding such an activity? I thought we were stamping out on the public sector lobbying what is essentially the public sector? Weren’t we?

PMQs 26th January 2011


If you missed the action from PMQs today click the play button above to catch up on all the action.

Why should we shed a tear for a killer?

So we learn that a convicted murder has been put to death, though he tried to kill himself because he was so scared of the lethal injection. This is the same person according to the report who killed Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kris. I wonder how terrified they were before they were killed.

Sorry but  I have little sympathy. People may object to the death penalty. That is an honourable position to take. They should, however also see that it is just as justifiable to hold views which supports the death penalty. Of course if they believe in democracy maybe they would like the public to have a referendum on the issue, given historically the British public have supported it’s reintroduction. You may think it harsh and inhumane but I would not shed a tear if the likes of the Ian Huntleys of this world faced capital punishment.

Oh – and yes, I have lived in a state that has had the death penalty and still does (unlike many people who comment on the issue). And to be clear, I am fairly consistent. I believe in the right to choose and living wills. How many people are pro choice and anti capital punishment yet can square that circle in their mind.

Why are people so against private involvement of our forests?

Private involvement in things is not automatically bad. Why the automatic assumption that private involvement in our forests should be such an awful thing to happen. Frankly there are many instances where private ownership can be much better than without private involvement. There are also many instances where private land is much better looked after than communal areas.

I have spend many hours making my front garden look nice. I enjoy it and I hope others do to. I live on a nice housing estate and right opposite me is a communal grassy area. That area is not looked after half as well as private land. Local kids just leave their rubbish on it. Dogs foul on it, and so on and so on. The communal area is worse than the majority of the privately owned land, and peope treat it worse than they do private land.

We all see it on estates where there is a bit of grass separate from a private garden next to the pavement. Many people don’t look after it because they feel no ownership over it and leave it to the local council, or even park on it, when they wouldnt on their own property

So yes, there are many examples of private land being tended better, often for the benefit of all. I was born and brought up in Chesterfield. The Chatsworth estate and gardens are far better than any park I know. They are privately owned, but the public can drive through and enjoy the countryside. Is that a terrible thing? No the Duke of Devonshire has done a much better job than any council of any political colour would.

In many cases the same can be said of farmers who look after the countryside for the benefit of us all.

I am not saying i would “privatise” forests, but when we hear that talking about private involvement is just the Conservatives being ideological, I would thrown back perhaps those objecting are being slightly ideological in their objections? Maybe a little private involvement could lead to improvements that benefit us all!

Seven Days Show 23rd January 2011


In the latest edition of The Seven Days Show (episode 57) we discuss Andy Coulson; whether Iain is a good bet to be his replacement at 33/1; the resignation of Alan Johnson; Ed Balls becoming his replacement; Lord Strathclyde and whether having an affair is a resigning issue; Tony Blair and the Iraq inquiry; Prisoners votes; Baroness Warsi; and who should take over the Olympic stadium.

To listen to the podcast click the play button above.

Subscribe to Tory Radio on Itunes here

Is having an affair a resigning issue?

So we learn according to the Sunday Mirror that Lord Strathclyde is apparently having an affair. Is this the story that is to rock the Government to its foundations? Sorry not for me I’m afraid. It does beg the question as to whether politicians should resign for having affairs. Well as sad as an affair can be for those hurt in the process, I’m afraid my answer is no.

These things happen in life. Would we expect every teacher who has had an affair to resign? Why not? Their actions will have a huge impact on the next generation. No of course they should not resign, just as a politician having an affair is in itself not a resigning issue.

Frankly politicians are human beings and we have to accept that they along with the rest of society may make choices, which whilst some of us my find unpalatable, are just part of life. I believe I tweeted the following. TWO BREAKING NEWS STORIES:- 1) Politician cheats on their spouse; 2) Bear sh*ts in the wood. You know what I mean!