John Mann MP asks for verdict on Ed Miliband

I just love the advertisement John Mann has put up for a new staffer which you can read here.

Applicants are invited to answer the following questions…..

1. What are Ed Miliband’s strengths and weaknesses?

2. Who is the most effective member of the Cabinet and why?

3. How would you improve Labour’s economic policy?

But do not fear job hunters, as “The successful applicant will not be judged by the precise answers given, but by the coherence of written argument and the honesty and clarity of expression.”

Be bold. Be honest… I just wonder if Ed would like to read some of the responses.

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Managing Expectations

The companies you love in life are ones that are masters in managing our expectations. On the whole organisations such as Amazon are worthy of note. They tell me my package will arrive within 5 days, so when it comes in 3 I am pleasantly surprised.

If only the same was true of Sky broadband. Perhaps it’s my own fault. I should have realised that living in a rural location I wouldn’t get good broadband. But that isn’t the problem. I’m not concerned about the speed. I’m getting more and more frustrated about not having any broadband at all, and dealing with a customer services operation that seem to know nothing about either customers or indeed service.

The whole saga started when I ordered a TV, telephone and broadband for the house we recently moved in to. Right on time came a very helpful chap who installed our dish and got us up and running. The next day the phone line went live, and in the post came the broadband router.

Lovely I thought. It shouldn’t be long until I can use the internet. Oh no. What they initially failed to tell me was that they don’t put in the order for your broadband until they have completed your phone line order. A bit disappointed, but I understood the reasoning, and was given a date 2 weeks after ordering my package for broadband to go live.

November the 1st arrives – the day I get my broadband. I get back from work and guess what. Broadband isn’t working, so decide to call them the next morning. A 30 minute call later they suggest it could be a router problem but I will need to be at home.

A second call that evening, and I am literally forced to do all sorts of tests such as swapping filters and screwing the plate off the master socket (even though it is clear this isn’t the problem) before I am told that it looks like broadband hasn’t actually been activated. I am promised a call back an hour later.

Guess what. Expectations not managed again, and I have to call back after ten, only to be told that my case has apparently been sent to another team, giving them 72 hours for them to do something, during which time they will not let me speak to that team. I politely pointed out surely I could speak to them now. Oh no, but if I do not get a call within 72 hours then I have to call and only then can I speak to them.

So essentially it feels like they are giving themselves some time in the hope the situation will sort itself out.

Perhaps more frustrating than anything is the companies twitter account @skyhd. When you point out you are getting absolutely nowhere fast they respond with ‘helpful’ comments like ‘I’m sure they will sort the problem out’. Are you? I’m not – or at least not in a very timely fashion. When you ask if they can get someone to call you they suggest twitter is not a secure platform and so can’t discuss specific accounts.

Funny how many FTSE companies us DM on twitter to engage with customers when they have issues. So I am left being able to communicate with a company not providing a service I am now getting billed for via twitter, who will not do anything. If I call they suggest they have a 72 hour time frame, but steadfastly refuse to let me know what actually will be done in those 72 hours, and because I work, and will need to be at home if and when they call, my time slot is between 9:00pm and midnight. Superb.

So in order to manage my expectations I am resigned to having no internet connection for the next month, resigned to having to be on the phone to Sky as soon as I get in the door at 8:00pm every evening for a couple of hours, and resigned to the fact that each night I will be taken through the script of checking broadband filters, master sockets and other tedious things.

Anything else will surely be a bonus.

This article first appeared on Dale & Co

UPDATE:- It is now November 6th. We have had a BT Open Reach engineer who having spent about 40 minutes doing not very much let us know he couldn’t spend any more time on the issue and left.

I then phoned Sky who told me according to their system the issue had been sorted. My patience being sorely tested I point out that no – still no resolution and currently they are trying to clear the “issue sorted message” so they can rebook an engineer.

 

So…. Broadband ordered 17th October. Promised November 1st. Paying for service since November 1st. Around 2 calls to Sky each day since, and still no closer to getting any ‘service’. Superb.

Latest from @skyhd was “Have you checked online to check the status of your broadband. Err a) Status said it was provided 1st November b) Sending links to people complaining about a lack of broadband is the shoddiest customer service I have seen!

Answers on a Postcard

What message did Miliband get across? Did Ed Miliband deliver a speech that presented himself as a Prime Minister in waiting? For my money no, or at least not yet, and perhaps he didn’t need to. There isn’t going to be an election this year, but I was left more than a little underwhelmed. Did he do enough to maintain his grip on the Labour leadership? Yes, but he didn’t blow me away.

As a non Labour voter his speech was not meant to appeal to me. It should have been used to hit home to the undecided or indeed those people who voted Lib Dem and indeed Tory who may be thinking twice about doing it again. Did that speech do the job? I’m totally unconvinced. Having the live feed go down when you are delivering your keynote speech is never helpful, and why the Labour leader makes his speech in the middle rather than the end of conference is beyond me. Pity the organisations holding fringes tomorrow when many delegates have gone home.

His speech probably cheered the party faithful in the hall, though it’s surely a sign of political immaturity that delegates booed a Labour Prime Minister who delivered them three election victories. Miliband can only dream of being such a successful Labour Prime Minister.

I am left failing to understand how a future Labour Government would address the serious issues facing the country. All I know is that they don’t seem to like what Blair and New Labour achieved and they don’t like what the current Government is doing. Fine, but that doesn’t really tell me what a future Labour Government will look like and do. If anyone knows, then answers on a postcard please.

This article first appeared on Dale and Co

Book Launch – The Very Best of Tory Radio

Time:- Sunday, October 2 · 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Location:- The Freedom Zone at the Bridgewater Hall Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Location:- The Freedom Zone at the Bridgewater Hall Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

More Info:- Read the very best interviews from Tory Radio with Jonathan Sheppard interviewing figures such as:

  • Lord Tebbit
  • Roger Helmer MEP
  • Ken Clarke MP
  • Iain Duncan Smith MP
  • Michael Howard
  • and many more

Jonathan lulls his guests into thinking he’s a friend.

Then he pounces!”

— Iain Dale

 

Jonathan Sheppard is the David Frost of the Tory blogosphere.

His gentle interviewing style for ToryRadio consistently

produces more interesting results than the aggressive style

contemporary journalists”

— Tim Montgomerie

 

Worth downloading for the low down”

— Guido Fawkes

The only video you need to see to understand why people buy what paper

Why does the Left have to rely on hate figures

Maybe I am wrong, but I’ve always thought that some on the left of politics really seem to need to have hate figures on the right. For some, Thatcher may as well have eaten their first born she is hated so much.

When false rumours of her passing have circulated over the internet you could not imagine (or maybe you could) the pleasure expressed at the news. Personally I thought Brown was a poor Prime Minister, and took some appalling decision that damaged the country. Those same feelings are probably shared about Thatcher by those who weren’t fans. Yet will I celebrate if his family or indeed the man himself faces tragedy? No, because he doesn’t invoke such strong feeling of ‘hatred’ and I do use that word intentionally, that some on the left feel towards those on the right.

We see the same views expressed to Murdoch. On a twitter exchange (which isn’t the best forum for reasoned debate) it was put to me that Murdoch was responsible for the Iraq war. No mention of Saddam Hussein then? Of course not, because Murdoch is totally hated. Far be it for me to point out that Maxwell was a rather naughty media baron on the other side of the political divide. Then of course they have Lord Ashcroft. Oh how they hate him. Don’t mention what he does for charity as it wont fit their narrative. Better not tell them he has his own online media empire or they will detest him even more.

Now not everyone on the other side of politics feel this way. I have good friends in the other parties and we can have a robust debate and still like each other. But there does seem to be a significant grouping of those on the left who can see no good in anyone on the right and are far too party political to see anything of virtue across the political divide. You could almost call it politically bigoted.

Do people on the right have such hate figures? I’m not sure they do. Tony Benn has been a darling of those on the left. He was my MP. I fundamentally disagree with much of what he stands for (though agree with his scepticism of the EU, if for different reasons). Is he a hate figure for me? No, I just think he is misguided about much of what he believes. Try as I might I can’t really think of anyone that would fit that bill, and yet they think Tories and those on the right are the nasty ones.

This article first appeared in Dale & Co

What's the point of joining a political party?

I joined the Conservative Party in 1990. I have stood for Parliament twice (granted once was for the Referendum Party in 1997). I joined the party because I  believed in meritocracy – being able to achieve whatever you wanted, not matter where you came from.

I am sure many people from other political persuasions will have joined a political party at one time or another, possibly for similar reasons.

What I have to ask myself now is this. What exactly is the point of joining? I can only speak from the perspective of the Conservative Party, so perhaps members of indeed ex members of other parties can give their views. I am no longer a paid up Conservative member. Why, you may ask? Well that is the $64,000 question. Why would I join?

Firstly, what do you get for your money? The chance to select your local parliamentary candidate? Wait, no, I can do that anyway if primaries are going to be used more and more. Can I cast my vote in a leadership election? Yes, but there is unlikely to be one of those for quite a few years. So what else do I get? Oh wait. If I am a member I am more likely to get asked to donate even more money, or buy raffle tickets or attend functions which as a thirty-something I have little to no interest in. It doesn’t sound that attractive, does it?

Being a party member means you can get involved in politics. Yes, but I can do that quite easily without being pestered to do things I don’t want to do. I am interested in campaigning. I can do that without being a member too.

So the question isn’t why have I not continued with my membership? The question is why should anyone bother at all? Isn’t that the question all political parties have to answer?