Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In 2005 we fought the general election on immigration. Conservatives warned of the impact of uncontrolled immigration particularly from the enlarged EU. Every other country imposed restrictions on the numbers of new EU entrants who could enter their countries - but the Labour government in their wisdom estimated that only 14500 immigrants would want to come to the UK. We are now paying the price for that incompetent decision. The estimate is far off the mark with over 500,000 entrants at a guess and we are now paying the price in service provision. Local Councils have warned for years that their ability to provide services is being affected. The lack of Government planning for this influx is also having a dramatic impact on hospital services. This as so many other things highlights not only Labour's inability to get it right, but their lack of strategic ability to plan. It is the ordinary British citizen who is now paying the price. Where is the apology Gordon? It is no use having a "vision for the future" if it is based on a fairytale.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I got the call from one of my University friends for a "girls night in" kitchen table supper with friends I hadn't seen for two years. I spent part of the evening chatting to a teacher, who has been teaching 7-10 year olds for the last 13 years. It was fantastic to hear in her voice her enthusiasm and obvious love for her work, but she also told me of the straight jacketing that she finds in her classroom. Kate told me that "it seems we have to turn out identical children, but I cant. What suits one child doesn't suit another. I want the freedom to be able to teach in a way which I know will allow me to bring the best out of all of them, and I know that I would achieve more with the children than the targets I currently have to hit" What was depressing for me was the way in which she said she was "lucky" because her head teacher gave her as much leeway as he could to allow her to go outside the box ticking imposed on other teachers she knew. It was clear that the one size fits all approach did not get her support. Kate was genuinely delighted when I started talking about our education policies and it was clear that having been totally switched off politics before we started talking, suddenly the interest and sparkle was there. What a lovely evening and it has set me up for the week ahead.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Government keep telling us that inflation is at 2%. I wonder whether this is in the hope that if they keep saying it they will convince some people to believe it. At a meeting to discuss further increases in the Police Precept element of Council Tax in Flintshire a local man said clearly that in the engineering business that he worked in inflation was running at 7%. The police authority clearly stated to keep their budget at a "like for like" level this year it would need a 10% increase in funds, they have been offered 2.5%. I know that the price of bread from the local baker has gone from 92 pence to 104p, butter has gone from 71p to 85p, electricity and fuel prices continue to rise, as does the cost of heating oil. Watching Prime Minister's questions I was struck by the body language of those sitting behind the PM - their arms and hands crossed - no wonder they look defensive when the PM talks of inflation at 2%. Does the Government really think that the public believe them!!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Last night I went to a Police Authority meeting. A number of Flintshire police officers were there to hear the debate on the proposed rise in the police precept. This discussion comes on the back of the proposed 1.9% settlement on Officers pay. 250 officers from North Wales have taken a day of holiday time to go to London to protest at the breach of trust shown by the Home Secretary. What is now clear is that there was never an intention to stick to the arbitration recommendation. In that case why did the Government agree to go to arbitration? What makes is worse is that officers have had to sit back and watch "back office" staff receive an above 2% pay rise which has been backdated to September. We expect the Police to deal with difficult and dangerous situations every day, this breach of trust by the Government is a betrayal of those officers.