Tuesday, 29 July 2008
With Glasgow born businessman Michael Brown, who donated more than £2 million to the Liberal Democrats, having skipped bail and gone on the run it seems to me he is a symbol of the Party he once supported.
Mr Brown is charged with money laundering, theft, perverting the course of justice and other fraud-related offences.
The Liberal Democrats are known, from time-to-time, to indulge in a bit of political fraud themselves - campaigning with one position on a policy in one constituency and a completely different position on the same policy in another constituency where this suits their pursuit of votes at any cost.
The lesson for the Liberal Democrats is that, like Michael Brown, things you do and say eventually catch up on you! I am sure the Police will catch Mr Brown and the electorate will catch on to Lib Dem policy. The good news is we will all be better off without them when this occurs!
Sunday, 27 July 2008
So many of my friends don't understand how I can possibly get any fun or satisfaction out of trudging streets, attending meetings, delivering speeches or so very many leaflets. I suppose that makes them ordinary people and makes me a sad political hack!
While many of the tasks outlined above are, on the face of them, pretty mundane there is one little piece of political fun to be found online which I recommend to everyone as a fun way to enjoy politics.
The website www.electoralcalculus.co.uk allows everyone to indulge in a bit of harmless political prediction. Most sad political hacks, like me, simply use this site to see what a combination of all the latest Opinion Polls predict will happen in their own Westminster constituency, but to everyone else the site allows you to have a bit of fun trying to predict what will happen in all 650 UK constituencies.
On the left hand side of the website there is a 'Make your prediction' tab. Simply click on this and a small table appears asking you to insert the national percentage of the vote you think the Conservatives, Labour and Liberals will poll come the next General Election.
Simply insert your own percentage prediction and click 'Predict Election'. If you don't pick a constituency, the website will then calculate the total number of seats each Party will enjoy if you are right and the overall majority the largest Party might enjoy. Your own prediction table will also be accompanied by a chart showing which seats your prediction forecasts will change hands, together with the name of the incumbent MP you have predicted will have lost their seat.
You can of course be very clever and factor in additional swings from any one political Party to another or you can pick just one region of the UK if that is of more interest to you. The only thing the site falls down on is that it does not allow for the SNP to be factored in on a regional basis, which is particularly disappointing given the current state of play here in Scotland.
For what it is worth my last prediction, (Conservatives 41.6%, Labour 31.1% and Liberals 16.8%), forecast a Conservative majority of 40 in contrast to the sites own prediction, from Opinion Polls, of 160.
Who knows what the outcome really will be come the next General Election. Until we find out why not have a little bit of fun with your politics and have a go at predicting what might happen yourself!
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Although I do so through gritted teeth, and with a heavy heart, it is true that they fought a positive campaign in the face of Labour propaganda that was almost entirely negative, ill-judged and without any heavyweight support visibly deployed to the constituency.
In contrast, the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party fought a positive campaign led by a positive candidate supported by a very positive Annabel Goldie MSP. Annabel's cancelled her holiday to stay in Scotland and coordinate our campaign and that our vote was not squeezed as you would normally expect any party in third or fourth place to be, (just ask the Liberals), is a testament to her efforts, alongside those of Davena and all our Scottish Conservative Central Office team.
I spent 10 years heading up the national sales team of a PLC operating across the whole of the United Kingdom. In that time I learnt that it was much more important to sell your own positives than to try and trash your opposition, with negatives about their brand, if you hoped to win any sizable business from the British people.
People want you to tell them why they should buy from you, not why you should not buy from someone else.
That is why Unionist Party's must get away from focusing on why Scotland should not be independent and concentrate instead on the many social and economic reasons why we should all remain together as a happy and harmonious UNITED Kingdom.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
In recent years Mearns Village residents have witnessed a significant rise in crime and anti-social behaviour as a result of the Council's housing allocation policy and today we hear that this crime wave has reached new heights with a Police siege, including armed officers, of a house on William Mann Drive.
I am sure the full details of this will become available as the Police and Procurator Fiscal proceed with their investigations but from all that neighbours tell me the man arrested was bearing a gun and threatening to use it. It seems that this man is not a local of Mearns Village and another person placed into what was once a harmonious local community by a Council with no idea how to promote social cohesion in their 'Social Housing' allocation policy!
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
In February of this year East Renfrewshire's Conservative Councillors proposed a budget amendment that would added an additional 50% to the roads repair and renewal budget for this year. Pretty good given the limited resources of our local authority, but even this would not have been enough. The current roads budget of £667,000 per annum doesn't begin to touch what needs to be done and yet the administrations Councillors voted against our cost neutral proposal to increase this budget to £1,001,000.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
At a 'Public Meeting' held tonight in the Fairweather Hall around 140 people from the Mearns Village area turned out to voice their complete opposition to Council proposals to refurbish two blocks of housing on Anderson Drive, to install CCTV outside the complex and to put a 24 hour warden service into the buildings because the Council simply have not done anything to reassure local people that the people these blocks will house will not create even greater public disorder than they currently experience.
Councillor Jim Swift, Conservative Group Leader, rightly pointed out to local residents that he proposed extra policing for 'Hot Spots' in the evenings, 7 days a week - 52 weeks of the year, in his Council budget amendment and that this would have been a first step to addressing local concerns on crime, anti-social behaviour and youth disorder. The other three Councillors present tonight who voted against this amendment, without proposing any alternative to crime management, should hold their heads in shame for asking local people to give them suggestions as to what to do about anti-social behaviour emanating from Anderson Drive when they had the power to do something about it only weeks ago by voting for Jim's amendment.
Tonight we saw a exercise in local democracy that proves the people of East Renfrewshire still care about their local area. Well done to the people of Mearns Village - they can be assured of the support of their local Conservatives as they fight a bad plan for the wrong location!
Saturday, 12 July 2008
It was my 37th birthday yesterday and from start to finish family and friends did all they could to ensure I enjoyed my day and to make me feel just a little special - if only to them!
Whether it was my cards in the morning, a bottle of champagne from a business partner before lunch, or the trip to London for dinner and a relaxing weekend organised by my wife, Elaine, everything people did for me yesterday emphasised to me how tremendously lucky I am to be surrounded by the people who are important to me.
So thank you everyone, I had a wonderful day thanks to wonderful people! Let's hope I am able to do the same for you when your time comes.
Friday, 11 July 2008
If Glasgow East abandons the Labour Party and goes SNP it sounds as if it is highly likely Gordon Brown would be forced out of Downing Street. After all there are not too many Labour MP's with majorities of 13,500+ and given this basic arithmetic the Parliamentary Labour Party would surely rebel in fear for their own job prospects should Labour lose in the Prime Minister's own backyard.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
The SNP are of course correct to suggest we Scottish are perfectly capable of governing ourselves if we wanted to and indeed to suggest we would make a good fist of it. But what they are not honest enough to admit is that the breakup of Britain would come at a heavy cost to Scottish industry, to Scottish jobs and to whole sections of Scottish society.
As just one example, there is the terrific news for Clyde shipbuilding that the United Kingdom government has formally signed contracts to buy two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. Because this involves procurement of strategic national importance to the UK government they are able to place orders with our own domestic shipbuilders without including foreign yards in full scale competitive tendering. In this instance that means job security for yards on the Clyde, Rosyth, Barrow and Portsmouth.
The two new aircraft carriers that are to be built will be the biggest ships ever to enter service with the Royal Navy at more than 65,000 tonnes each. The contract, signed on 3rd July 2008, guarantees more than 7,000 jobs across the UK and means we retain vital skills in our country for the foreseeable future.
Had Scotland not been part of the United Kingdom, with our proud tradition of supporting our Navy, there would not have been any likelihood of an independent English government placing an order of strategic importance to it with a Scottish yard. Indeed, were we not part of the United Kingdom I am in no doubt Scotland would not have a commercial shipbuilding industry of the type and scale we see today. Without Royal Navy contracts the Clyde's shipbuilders would have shut up shop long ago and in the event of independence, but for a few fishery protection vessels, I do not believe there would be frigate, submarine or aircraft carrier orders from a Scottish government to sustain a significant shipbuilding industry in the future.
Independence would dramatically reduce the size and capability of our armed services. Scotland would not procure massive aircraft carriers, would not need the jet fighters that go with them and our army would be a shadow of its current size given our relative irrelevance on the international stage. And yet, today, our armed services support the economies of whole areas of Scotland and play vital roles in the moral fabric of society as we know it. All this would be put at risk by independence and no one should be in any doubt that cuts to Scotland's armed services capability would occur within weeks of any divorce from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
So, unless I have missed something, the independent Scotland offered by Alex Salmond and the SNP would be detrimental to our armed services. We are a country of 5 million people talented and resourceful people but we would not need, and could not sustain, the number of army, airforce and navy personnel we currently support as nationals of a country with a combined population of 55 million+, even on a pro rata basis.
I am sure HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales will be shining examples of all that makes our country GREAT!
Our two new aircraft carriers, built on the Clyde, will be glorious symbols of why we should be proud to be British and they should serve to remind us all of the benefits Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland gain from being part of a Union that delivers social, economic and strategic advantages - benefits we would not enjoy if we are force apart.
So thank you, my fellow British citizens, for our aircraft carrier contract. Together we will proudly defend our nation, while apart we would surely be shadows of our current selves, both at home and abroad!
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Scottish and British society sit today at a crossroads. We either take action to tackle issues like knife crime or we accept them as part of modern day society and allow our way of life to continue to corrode.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Earlier today the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, unveiled a radical new plan to soften the impact of future fuel price rises on families. Put simply, his 'Fair Fuel Stabiliser' would reduce duty when fuel prices go up, and raise it when fuel prices go down.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Going in to this years Wimbledon fortnight none of us really expected to be talking about a British victory on Finals weekend unless we were appending the surname "Murray" to the victor, and yet today it is Laura Robson who has us celebrating a British win in terrific style!
Laura's 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win in this afternoons Girls Singles Final showed grit, determination and a typically British "never say die" spirit. Watching her composure and professionalism, both during the match and even after having won a Grand Slam tournament, I couldn't help thinking this young lady has what it takes to go all the way in the game.
It takes a unique blend of talent and dedication to breed a champion and I believe Laura will be a true British sports star for a very long time to come. So come on Britain, let's get right behind Laura, the Murray's and all our other elite sports men and women in the hope that they provide our young people with the inspiration not to waste their talents preferring instead to put them to good use!
Friday, 4 July 2008
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Having beaten Richard Gasquet in a five set thriller tonight I think it is fair to say the best way to win over the great British public is pretty simple - WIN!
We love an underdog and a good loser, but what we really want to follow and support are determined winners.
So "some on Andy" keep up the good work and win one for Great Britain and make us all, including the English, love you as the British treasure you undoubtedly are!