6 August 2014

How Kingston's local paper reported Zac Goldsmith's speeding ban

Last week, Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith, was banned from driving for six months and fined a mere £570 pounds (about 0.1% of his largess to the local Tory Party).

Significant local news one might think?  Obviously not if you are the Surrey Comet/Kingston Guardian...

Perhaps the rumours of a significant investment in the ailing local paper from the Goldsmith family are true after all.

26 July 2014

Friday favourite 137

BBC Four are doing a remarkable job in re-running TOTP from the 70s without featuring some of their now unsavoury presenters. Anyway here's the Stranglers from tonight's edition...

20 July 2014

Was Tory Terry Paton a BNP member for 8 years?

According to the leaked BNP membership list from 2009 Terry Paton used his real name, home address and mobile number which is a bit odd for someone who was supposed to be 'undercover'.

Most interestingly is that his name appears in the list entitled 'Apr 01 onwards' suggesting he was a member for at least eight years.

Kingston Conservatives have some serious explaining to do.

Kingston Tory councillor was BNP member

The local paper in Kingston leads on a strange story that one of Kingston's Conservative councillors was a  member of the BNP in 2009.  Councillor Terry Paton claims that this was because he was working undercover as a private investigator having left the Met police.

The Kingston Guardian quotes that when he left the police in 1999 - ten years earlier - he set himself up as a private investigator and his BNP membership was simply part of an undercover investigation.

Paton was the Tory candidate in the July 2013 New Malden by-election caused by the resignation of disgraced former Lib Dem council leader, Derek Osbourne, on child porn charges.  Paton was interviewed at the time by a local community website 'this is our town' where he said "I was a Metropolitan Police Officer until the end of 1999 when I retired following an injury in the execution of my duty. After retiring from the Police I started my own company carrying out Gas Safety and Inspection Certification in New Malden and across South London."

This is backed up by Companies House who registered his company - Paton Heating Ltd on 5 January 2000.

There is no evidence of Terry Paton being a director of any other company (or a sole trader) since he set up Paton Heating Ltd on his retirement from the Met.

So if he was running a heating company since 2000 - what was he doing in the BNP in 2009?

Blondie live in 78


2 July 2014

Boy racer Zac Goldsmith admits three speeding offences

The Surrey Comet reports that Richmond Park MP and Tory eco-poster boy has pleaded guilty to three counts of speeding (presumably in his faux-Green Toyota Prius). 

They also report he already has points from previous offences, meaning a driving ban would be expected - or at least it would be for someone without his very highly paid lawyers.

So if he does get a ban - he'll find the Transport for London journey planner really useful.  Unless he decides to employ a chauffeur...

28 June 2014

The new Lib Dem summer campaign is an admission of failure

I had the dubious priviledge earlier in the week to listen in to Nick Clegg and a couple of his teenage acolytes (who are apparently big in the campaign department these days) launching the party's summer campaign.

It is rather strangely entitled 'A record of delivery' - which sounds like the CD you might buy on the way out of the new Postman Pat movie.  Nick Clegg - with his tin ear to party history - claimed this would be familiar to Lib Dem campaigners - referring to the ALC inspired 'Record of action' - but failing to understand the crucial difference. 

Action is a word used by people on the street - it's what they expect their politicians to take   Delivery is what people who work for the Post Office (or indeed Lib Dem activists) do.

But one big criticism isn't the ugly, soulless (focus grouped) language (or indeed the typos in the document) - it is the fact that the party is now launching a campaign that one of these acolytes - Steve Jolly, the party's 'Head of National Campaigns' - says "Tell(s) voters that we have delivered a Liberal Democrat agenda in government"

I argued as long ago as September 2011 that the big failing of Clegg's strategy was his utter inability to communicate any sort of Liberal Democrat agenda for government.  So it is no wonder over the last four years that voters have decided this is a Tory government in all but name.

So now Clegg and his team are basically wanting what's left of the party to try and recover the ground (in ten months) he has lost over the last four years.  You have to admire his chutzpah if nothing else.  But it is a huge admission that his strategy over the last four years has utterly failed.

The other big criticism is the bit after the 'Record of Delivery'.  The 'Promise of More' works where Lib Dems have dealt with local concerns, campaigned for improvements and can point to solid successes over the years.  Sadly without that public acknowledgement that the party has achieved anything in goverment (which apparently the party's own polling recognises as a major issue) a promise of more sounds simply like a plea to keep Clegg and his dozens of (frightfully bright) advisers in highly paid jobs for another five years. 

And the five policies that form the 'promise of more' are hardly going to set the heather on fire:
  • More deficit reduction - but do it fairly
  • Further increase in the personal allowance
  • New 'fair' rules on immigration
  • Write pensioners 'triple lock' into law
  • Invest more in education
If that's the best Clegg and his vast team of SPADs can come up with then the game is really up.  It's a pathetic programme that show's he's run out of ideas going forward.  He's put the party in a place where he's trashed its past, failed to communicate any positive present and is now outlining a uninspiring, technocratic future (no doubt aligned again with Cameron's Tories). 

Sorry Nick - your time's up.

17 June 2014

Peter Kellner: Lib Dems could slump to 19 MPs in 2015 'meltdown'

In an interesting commentary on the YouGov website, one of the UK's top psephologists - Peter Kellner -  postulates some 2015 election scenarios that see the Lib Dems end up with just 19 MPs.

In it he states:

"Until the recent elections I assumed that the Lib Dems would regain some ground as next year’s election approached. Even if they remained well below the 24% they scored in 2010, most of their MPs would enjoy enough local support to minimise their losses.

"Now I am not so sure. That is, I still think that the Lib Dems could claw their way back to around 14%; but there is now a chance that they will remain stuck on around 8%."
And on 8% - the best scenario for the party is just 23 seats. 

Kellner also turns perceived wisdom on its head that a narrow Labour lead equates to a small overall majority, stating "Labour must also abandon its hopes of winning an overall majority with a narrow lead in the popular vote. Depending on Lib Dem performance and the precise size of the Tories’ sophomore surge, Labour’s lead needs to be at least 3% and possibly 5%."