Sunday, 12 December 2010



Friday 10th December, the morning after the night before (The Tuition Fee Vote) and I am being entertained in the office of Brian Hoare Lib Dem Leader of Northampton Borough Council where together with other group leaders we are working on the Chief Execs appraisal. Caroline, Brians very efficient secretary brought me a welcome cup of coffee in one of several (Lib Dem) themed mugs. Needless to say their was much merriment and mirth around the table. I offered Brian a fiver for the mug which must now be a collectors piece, but he refused. He will probably get more for it on ebay, but what will it be listed under? How about Collectibles/Myth-Fantasy


Meanwhile students and unbelievably in many cases their parents continue to be Kettled by The Metropolitan Polices finest and detained in streets for hours upon end for simply having the courage to demonstrate against this political skullduggery. Of course there will always be violence at such events, the anarchists will always use the opportunity to do their worst, but is containment on such a large scale defensible? or even legal? The students are now however getting wise to such moves and are moving around the capitals streets in smaller groups making mad dashes to agreed local landmarks as soon as plod look likely to contain them. This modern day demonstration technique reminded me of Mike Reids Fab Kids TV show RRRRRRunaround where kids were asked a question prior to making a mad dash to a spot containing their chosen answers. others suggested Cheggers Plays Pop which had a similar theme. Brilliant! So well done students I say, it is good to see some of the University Education put to good practice and use rather than just being wasted on creating ever more capital for the rich.


Am I alone in thinking that Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has finally lost the plot? Hoping to hear a leak about the still to be released Local Government Spending Settlement (next due date Mon 3.30pm) I tuned into the politics show only to catch him being caught out by his own Localism Bill. He confirmed during the show that the newly planned bill will give the power to the people to call referendums on anything they like, when they like, as long as they have the requisite number of signatories.

Not a bad move at first sighting, but then the wheels started to come off in a big way when it was explained that residents could force a referendum to say cut any planned rise in the council tax, and then call another referendum thereafter forcing the Council to reinstate any services cut by the publics vote on cuts to the council tax increase! It a something for nothing society! We can vote to pay no increase in our local tax and then vote again to save the Community Centre closed as a result!

In another barmy clause it seems as if communities will be able to stop local pub owners or any other business deemed to be a community asset, from selling their business until such a time that the community can organise a raffle to make an alternative offer! Now part of me likes this idea, but the lawyers will have a field day when the local landlord has to pull out an agreed deal to sell his own property for say £500,000 to save him from going bankrupt, because Eric Pickles has decreed that the locals can have a few weeks to raise a maybe lower sum.

I am all for Power to the People but I don't think this one has been thought through too far behind the headlines.


I am sure we all remember Lib Dem Housing Portfolio Holder Cllr Sally Beardsworth rallying against the last Labour Government in years past when rent rises in the town where set to be increased way above inflation

In 2009 the government proposed a 5.6% increase to local rents and here's a reminder for you of what she said at the time.

"This is way above the rate of inflation, it's almost outrageous that this Government gives such little thought to the people of this town and puts the rent increases up so much."
Tony Woods the then leader of the Council chipped in and said

"It's obscene. It's a stealth tax but we've little choice but to pay it unfortunately."

After much lobbying by all parties the government backed down and the final rise was reduced to 2.8%

Then in 2010 the government introduced a new formula to restructure rents meaning that the average rent increase for properties last year in Northampton was just 0.58%

Sally, hardly said a word. So what does her Lib Dem and Conservative coalition have in store for us this year you ask? and will she be "outraged" or silent?

Well the new ConDem government have a cunning plan to make all Council Tenants pay a more "Market Rent" in the future and are utterly dismayed at such paltry increases being allowed in the past.

So they are definitely going up, but by how much? 1% do I hear? any advance on 1%? Yes 3% to the man in the yellow tie 3%? is that your final offer? No 5% to the smart looking chap from the Bullingdon Club, any advance on 5%? 6%!......................6.5% ? no 6.9%, sold to the nice one nation Tory with the Liberal conscience.

So there you have it, a proposed massive 6.9% rise in Northampton Council House Rents brought to you courtesy of the Liberal Democrats and their Tory chums in Westminster. But we are all in this together, honestly we are.

I wonder therefore how outraged Sally and her colleagues will be this year?


Finally to jolt you out of your Xfactor trances, up pops Captain Ska to present you with a real alternative choice to this years Christmas Number 1 spot. The single, Liar, Liar hit iTunes today and all proceeds will go to charities (Crisis, Disability Alliance, FalseEconomy and Women’s Health Matters) and to the running of the False Economy website. Ska music? Tory Government? I have come over all 1980's all of a sudden. Anyhow Listen and enjoy and then buy it and help the cause.


  1. I actually slightly agree on the student tuition fees Tony.

    I also think/believe many of the Lib Dems here in Northampton agree.

    However, (not that I should need to tell you) the Lib Dems nationally are part of a coalition. In my view they seem to be the junior partner in it, but I am sure many will disagree. (That's one of the good things about freedom of speech isn't it?)

    I hope/would like to think that many, if not all Lib Dems will stand by their principals. But, such is life that when you get married, get a job, form a coalition government; you need to make compromises.

    Now some of these will go against everything you believe in, some of them will make sense to you; and some you will think came up the river on a banana boat.

    That's kinda the point of compromise, you have to give a little and take a little; all your days as not only an MP but also a Councillor should tell you that... didn't you used to specialize in conflict resolution?

    What worries me is that in 4/5 years time when things have not gone right, Lib Dems will be made the scapegoat and shall be made to take the fall.

    Personally, they should have used their position, as the group with enough to make a majority; to more effect.

    They could have made it clear that either the Tories or Labour needed them both more, or should have argued more for their policies to be heard and stuck too ~ if that makes sense.

    However, they were correct to grab power I think; I just hope it will not come back to bite them on the butt.

  2. Hang your head in shame stjohnlady1. That sort of explanation of the Lib Dems position is so 'Cleggised'

    The reality is that the Lib Dems should never have got into a position in the first place of promising what they did on tuition fees, Trident, PR etc.

    They should have accepted that they would never form a government on their own and because of that, dont make promises that are virtually impossible to keep in any coalition.

    It already is biting them on the bum. Their desire for power and its trappings is far outweighing their desire to implement their policies.

    Speaking to insiders at Westminster, the vote on AV will tip the balance in May if the 'yes' vote fails.

    Lib Dem anger is rising with Lib Dem MPs as they can stomach Clegg loving his No 10 Office but with tuition fees lost, Trident lost, child benefit lost and now the NHS promise lost there is very little left.

    sad days indeed.

  3. Hi IndepenDENSE,
    Good to see you back.

    I actually agree with most of what you said, in an ideal world we would NOT be compromising; but the great british public clearly had no belief in ANY party ~ and don't even get me started on independents! And as such, no party got the majority.

    Like I said, personally I would have come at it with a much firmer "you need us" attitude; however Nick Clegg is meant to know what he is doing ~ hence why he is in power and parliament and I am not.

    I agree it is biting them in the butt, and I don't think I will ever stop worrying that all the crap we public have to deal with will be blamed upon us. I also totally agree about the AV voting thingy, that will be a "make or break" for Nick Clegg me thinks!

    Yes there is real anger from true Liberal's in the party, I cannot say that I am altogether happy about any of this either; had I wanted to be a Tory I would have joined the party outright.

    I would still like to think I had the Liberal beliefs, but I am not sure anymore if they are the same as the party ~ if that makes sense... (another writing blog at like 5 O'Clock in the morning!)

  4. Another week another drama StJohnLady1 with your guys. What do you think to it all Tony?

    I don't have a problem with Prince Vince holding the view he expressed to a journalist, I have a problem that he cant keep it to himself. He is either part of the coalition or he is not (as per the other Ministers that have bared their souls to constituents)

    Sadly it is more of chickens coming home to roost. The stereotype of the morally superior Lib Dem who is trying to have a foot in all camps and please everyone is being re-enforced.

    Someone said the best Leaders are those that take their darkest thoughts to their pillow. Pouring your heart out to anyone that will listen comes a very weak second.

  5. Gosh I am starting to worry, I actually agree again with you there IndepenDENSE: this could be dangerous!

    I think it is difficult enough being in a party that has ALWAYS been little more than a minor prop up to the two main parties; without throwing in all this power (of varying degree etc) as well as having to be nice to Tories... (can't say I would want to do it)

    It can be quiet easy, you just stick to wanting the best out of life for yourself and everyone around while maintaining the rights of everyone around you... okay, I know it is a little more complicated than that; but you get my drift right.

    But as is life, things are never that easy! Do you stick to your guns and never compromise on anything? Do you take an active (again, to whatever varying degree) role in trying to show that we (as Lib Dems) can handle power and pressure?

    Let's face it, this is not an ideal situation really is it? I can't think of one Northampton Lib Dem that want to be in this coalition, I doubt the Tories want to be here either; but I agree they are looking to be coming off much better in this than many of us are.

    And at the end of the day, had the great British public (in other words; me and thee) had faith in any ONE of the parties completely; then none of this would matter. Had they/we all voted with our feet/heads/voices whatever, then we would either have a majority Tory or Lib Dem government; or ~ god forbid ~ another 5 years of Labour!

    I am still not sure if Vince was correct to air his views, part of me believes that maybe if he and other senior members make their views known; more people (i.e: the Tories) will take notice... Maybe that is what is needed for us to save face and for them to keep on the straight and narrow as it were? But I fear it will just do more damage to what already looks a rocky coalition anyways.

    I don't think I have ever felt morally superior, and it might just be me (and my "everyone is good" nature) but I can't say I have seen much (well, maybe a little) of that with the Lib Dems here. Though I admit I do like the idea of making everyone happy...

    Is it wrong to want to find the best solution for everyone involved when things go down the pan etc? Sure, I know that you don't always get what you want from life, but surely it cannot be that wrong to want to try find the best solution to troubles for all that are affected by matters?

    I'd like to think that this is what sets the parties apart, Tories seem to only want the rich to get richer; while true socialist Labour supporters seem to want only the working man to be on top (obviously not EVERYONE is the same; but you get the idea) I'd like to think that me personally; would like to see the right balance of people getting on and getting along in life. (If any of that actually makes sense, I shall be impressed)

    I kind of agree with you on the last part of your post, though I know to many examples that will more than likely be the wrong thing to say. I would have said that a good leader has a little bit of everything to help him along his way. You need to look after those who work hard for you, those that make the money and (sometimes) make the economy thrive; and you also need to look after those unable to help themselves.

    Anyways, on a lighter note; hope you and our TC had a good Christmas? Enjoy NEw Year also both of you.

  6. Lib Dems in lowest poll rating since 1990

  7. So what's new?
    Shit happens.

    One moment one party (or even person) is "in" the next they are not.

    I've got used to politics now.

    A wrestler (cos I like that too) used to have the saying DTA ~ it means "Don't Trust Anyone"

    It holds true of ALL politicians!

  8. Have you noticed that its the same few people replying to your rants, and most of the time you end up explaining to them what your trying to say !!! rivetting reading, think i'd rather watch paint dry.

  9. At least they have the courage to put their names to thier posts, instead of hiding behind their party interest!


    I thought I would post that under your "Liar Liar" headline because it shows just how full of s**t you are!

  11. Oh dear, I have really rattled someones cage!!

    good stuff




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