Saturday, 28 July 2012

Oliver, my son is born

Just wanted to share with my readers;

Oliver Ian James Sams was born today at 14:33 after only 30 minutes of his mother being in hospital (and something like 10 hours of contractions!!!).



He and Sam are doing very well and both should return home tomorrow lunchtime to proud dad and doting older sister.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

George Osborne out; Vince Cable in?

So the original call for the removal of George Osborne has become a clamour.

I'm not an economist and a lot of the information and stands washed over me, I'm also not about to score political points for my party by touting our virtues and saying that;

Doctor Vince was right and he should be made Chancellor.

It is not my style and I don't think that is what Politics is about.

I was thinking about the drop in GDP and the failure of plan A and wondered what my heroes would do about it.

Then as the thought of Darth Vader muttering Apology accepted as he force choked Mr Osborne sailed through my mind I decided that a more practical solution was needed.

I understand David Cameron's backing of the Chancellor and his faith that things will turn around but things are mounting up and I shudder to say this... maybe Ed Balls was right.

Despite Government cuts - and lets face it the previous Government were pouring money down the drain on a lot of pointless crap that needed jettisoning, i.e. as nice as it is for every child born to get a government grant it was an overly expensive move that we all survived without before and will do now, or those damn costly ID cards... the economy isn't recovering as it should.

The list of excuses like the weather, the Royal wedding, the Jubilee, the Tsunami, Clegg stole my biscuits... just aren't cutting the mustard for a lot of people. Action needs to be taken and the Prime Minister has to act for the benefit of everyone.

If George Osborne was to take all the plaudits for success so must he take the blame for failure.


The future's bright... the future's Yellow

With two years to go and with so much riding on economic recovery surely a new team or chancellor should be appointed?

Go on Dave, be selfish, don't just do it for the economy, the people and the nation but do it for your party - after all if you want to be reelected in 2015 you'll need to show the nation that you guys got it right. After all the Conservatives are the party for good economic management right?

So who to chose? Well... I'd suggest Vince Cable - he's an economist, he knows what he's talking about and could really make a difference. Though it doesn't matter what I, any Libdem or even the Daily Mirror thinks because Dr Vince won't get the job. Despite Coalition niceties there is no way that the Conservative backbenchers will sit still whilst a great and well respected position gets given to a Libdem and not one of their own. It is a sad state of affairs but it is probably the truth.

There are other good choices within the Conservative party and others who are well placed to take the position or to bring fresh ideas to the table but will they get their chance?

It isn't to late to change things or for the economy to move up a notch just now is the time before its too late. With Germany set to lose its AAA status and the rest of Europe's economies hemorrhaging money it is only going to get worse.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Policing and violent Crime

The type of Area Car Pop drove
Yesterday when I got off the train I walked into the middle of a crime scene at Gillingham station. Someone had been stabbed, there were officers at the ticket gates, in the streets and a helicopter over Livingstone circus searching for the culprit.

It got me thinking about Crime and the state and whether or not it had been different in the past.

My family had been in policing for almost a century until I broke the chain. My Great grandfather served before and after the First World War as well as in the General Strike. My Grandfather from the 1950's to 60's where he met and married WPC Audrey Bone and my father went on to be a PC in Devon and Cornwall for a bit. All saw crime of varying degrees but was it as bad as it is now?

It is very fashionable to use crime statistics and horrific crime to beat the incumbent Government (of any party) with but the simple fact is that things have never really changed.

Violent crime and murder has always been with us and I am afraid it always will no matter what deterrents are put in place. ( I can tell you a couple of horror stories my Grandfather told me!!!)

Things did change. During the 50's when Police officers went out on the beat and checked front doors they were a visible presence and always just a shout away in London. As time progressed and the Area car, which Granddad worked on before he became a desk Sergeant, became more prevalent the Police were more seen fleetingly until now their street level presence is somewhat more negligible. Policing has become a more reactionary and investigatory force rather than a preventative force or so it seems to the average citizen.

However violent crime, stabbings and shootings etc have been with us for centuries. The Ripper killings of 1888 were only notable because of the severity and nature of the deaths. Stabbings were nothing new and were in fact common place as were mysterious disappearances. Countless people disappeared from Eastham in the 1880s without a trace and yet the state paid little attention to it. Large metropolitan areas have always suffered from crime despite the best efforts of the Police and security forces.

I'm not saying that we should be tolerant of crime, in fact far from it. It is truly an abhorrent activity. We should be tackling the cause of crime - usually greed, desperation due to poverty or addiction, jealousy or substance abuse. Unfortunately at a time of low economic growth and with little money around crime is always the easy option as demonstrated in last year's riots in London. They weren't all politically motivated and any ill feeling caused by the shooting of Mr Dugan was quickly washed away by the drive to loot and steal.

I do think that great citizenry input into Policing is a good thing, after all an elected commissioner will, in theory, take the concerns and wishes of his electorate to the Chief Constable and hopefully work towards what the community feel they need from a local police force. The problem is that the big political parties have got involved and this is BAD for the Police force. My prediction is that it any CPC will become a Blue vs. Red style Well they never did this and we have.... sort of thing the way that Parliament has become, a rugby game between two opposing forces bent on hating each other rather than serving the community and this is not what it should be about nor should it become.

So what of punishments? Well Life should mean life. Jail terms are often seen as to light by those of us who do not commit crimes but that means more prisons. Should there be capital punishment for people like Ian Brady or Peter Sutcliffe? No, I don't necessarily think so. Though a case can be made for vicious psychotic killers like them but they are extreme cases. Should it be down to parents to enforce a greater level of understanding in their young children of "right and wrong"? Yes I think so but it goes much deeper, there is truly a severe lack of respect for one's elders and those in authority.

When my Grandfather was young he was caught playing in the river by the local bobby - he got a clip around the ear and sent home to his father.
In the 90's a boy was cheeky to an officer so the officer clipped him around the ear with his rolled up mack - he lost his job.
I'm not saying "Police Brutality should be allowed" - far from it but authority figures need to be respected by everyone.

I saw an interesting quote on Facebook last week in the wake of the Colorado shootings;
Tightening up the laws is one thing but show me a criminal who respects law.


I don't have any answers, only meanderings and thoughts.

There are no easy solutions to fighting crime nor improving the Police force but lets not pretend that party politics is part of any solution nor that this sort of anti social behaviour is anything new.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Crouch to face Osborne in 2015 election

Osborne Vs Crouch in 2015
Well it is official. Councillor Tristan Osborne is no longer a prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Chatham and Aylesford. According to the Twittersphere an "Overwhelming majority" of Labour members voted him in as the official Labour candidate for 2015, congratulations.

This will make 2015 interesting - well it was before but...

This means Tristan will have to face Tracey Crouch.

The first Salvo was fired in the KM letter pagers a moth or so ago with the stinging rebuke along the lines of;

Whenever there is a vote that matters Tracey abstains.


(It is something I was and will write about in time, probably through my sabbatical but for the time being lets just leave it as the opening salvo.)

Political campaigns, like Military campaigns, are dependent on numbers and factors well beyond their control.

The first is the economy. Should things pick up, and I hope they will for all our sakes, then the Conservatives look to do very well in the next election. If it looks a little worse or there are continuous bad reactions to the cuts then irregardless of how good an MP Tracey has been she'll find herself in an up hill battle.

The second is Boundary reform. Tristan represents Luton & Wayfield that is marginally Labour. I'm sure he won't mind me telling you that it was a close run thing and I know how nervous he was watching the votes came in on the night. I remember the look of relief on his face when it came through and when we shook hands.


I should point out it was between him and the Conservatives, I lost quite convincingly coming right at the bottom!!!! 

At present, the ward is part of Chatham & Aylesford but under the new Boundaries it will be moved to Gillingham & Rainham and substituted for Wigmore & Hempstead which are blue areas in local elections. Add in the fact that areas of Malling will also be brought into Tracey's constituency which by the numbers means it should become a safer seat.
This advantage will of course be wiped clear if the first factor goes horribly wrong and a knee jerk reaction will kick in.

Councillor Osborne will also be looking to silence critics in his campaign. Many critics online and within the opposition parties will be looking at his record and his blog with interest and keeping tabs on what he says, quick to poke holes in any argument. However, I'm sure he will be pointing at the Government's record rather than being able to openly attack Tracey's record. Personally I think Tracey is doing a good job and works hard for her constituency and has taken many stands for them in Westminster.

It is going to be interesting to say the least and one I hope to follow fairly closely... we've not picked our PPCs yet so you never know I may have a ring side seat!!!

(Seriously though, I'm really not going to run for Parliament...)


Also Happy Birthday to Tracey for today (24th July) 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Shuffling out George Osborne

I was thumbing through the paper last Monday and found a couple of comments about whether or not George Osborne should be shuffled out of the Chancellorship in a front bench reshuffle.

The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh was quoted as suggesting that his unseemly bust ups with Ed Balls were distracting and even damaging his credibility as the man for the job and even suggesting that it was causing a lack of credibility and public esteem (and not us!).

Yes, I agree duelling with Ed Balls is unseemly but to be honest it would happen with whomever was Chancellor. Ed Balls is somewhat of a blunt instrument whose boorish manner acts like a battering ram and can easily get a rise from anyone.

But lets be honest;  Ed Balls can protest all he likes but he was buried in the treasury when all this rubbish with the banks happened in the first place.

The Newstatesman's George Eaton played down the talk of a reshuffle but suggested that the fact that it is being talked about and considered shows how much his stock has fallen.

However Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF has criticised the Treasury saying that the outlook is not great and that Osborne has until next year to see if "Plan A" can come to fruition, if not its time for "Plan B." The IMF points to the deep downturn in the economy, deeper than the Eurozone and indeed the USA, recovery has been weak and austerity has knocked 2.5% off the GDP. To cap it off Government borrowing is also up.

This may be why George Osborne is being asked to give up his position as Conservative planner and mastermind for strategy in 2015 by former Chancellor and well respected Conservative Lord Lawson in a Radio 4 interview;


I do think it might be sensible to give up the formal (strategy) role and focus exclusively on his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer which is a tremendously important job.
I think his last budget was not his biggest success but I think he should continue in that job,. But I do think... that it would be sensible for him to set aside his second job


So could George's time be up?

I don't think so yet. The pressure is mounting though, after all the strength of this government was always going to be on tackling the deficit and at the moment it has hit a bit of a pothole. Although replacing the Chancellor is not the solution (unless it is with David Lawes) at this time, serious thought needs to be directed to the situation and further to that 100% concentration on the matter so I agree with Lord Lawson on this.

The Economy and its recovery should be his priority and if it gets back on track the Conservatives won't need a strategy to win the next election but should it fail...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Coalition version 2.0

I wrote recently about a shift of dimensions between Clegg and Cameron and how the dimensions of their "marriage" has shifted. Tack this onto the problems that have arisen from Lords reform it would appear that the house of cards the Coalition was built on was about to collapse.

Serious cracks were visible between the two parties for the first time since the European crisis last autumn.

Populist view of Clegg and Cameron
Rebellions need to be dealt with and a Coalition Civil War must be averted as a Government tit-for-tat voting against itself at this economically precarious time could be disastrous, not just for the Libdems or the Tories but more importantly for the electorate, the ones who really matter.

For Coalition unity you have to look to the top.

Through the storms and disagreements and petty squabbles between the two groups the leaders have stayed (mostly) united. Both have been criticised by Labour, the press and their own parties for the closeness and it is something both have felt the need to play down in interviews.

Both leaders have to provide a united front which of course can only be done to a point as obviously there are quite a few differences between our parties - y'know in case you hadn't notices.

So what can we agree on? Railways, they're all in need of work and upgrading, its good for commuters, they're good for the environment (compared to domestic flights) and its good for British business with construction of trains and lines.

Monday, they stood together in Birmingham and affirmed their commitment to each other and to sorting out the nation with this new project. Like a married couple who have drifted apart and affirmed the need to sort things out by Going out more often together without the squabbling kids.

To quote Andrew Grice's article (Cameron and Clegg try to revive faltering Coalition I p.9 17/7/12)

The prime Minister argued that the deeper than expected economic gloom made their partnership more valid and said he was "even more committed" to it than when it was launched. He insisted it had "real purpose, a real mission".
Mr Clegg played down the Lords row as one of the "bumps in the road" to be expected.

I think it would be fair to say that it was more than a bump and both men are well aware of that - this is indeed a papering over the cracks manoeuvre.

At the same time a report is due in a couple of months to look at how many of the 430 pledges have been honoured (200)/in progress (120)/ dropped and there may be plans for Coalition 2.0 a new agreement with a raft of new policies for the second half of the term.

This seems like a natural move as things change and the original agreement may not be relevant in 2015 so it should be a good thing to re-evaluate how things are going and what needs to be re prioritised.

Yes, there are strains between the two parties, nothing that can't be worked through but I'm not going to lie, the next two years are going to be an interesting challenge.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Quashing Tory Rebels

Rebellion has caused serious ruptures
Somehow, and I'm not sure how my 90 year old Grandfather told me, I am related to "Hanging" Judge Jefferies. As a quick potted history for those unaware of my ancestor's activities he served as King James II's lord chief justice and was fairly brutal in his execution of the law.

Indeed the act that he is remembered for the most was the Taunton Assizes in the wake of the Monmouth rebellion. Lord Jefferies went down in the wake of the King's army to deal with the rebels and what followed was serious oppression; 300 (144 sentenced in 2 days!) were executed (either hanged, hung-drawn and quartered, beheaded and even burnt to death) with their bodies put on display around the country as a reminder of what befalls traitors, another 900 odd were deported to the West Indies as a source of cheap labour and were ultimately doomed to die in transport or from yellow fever on arrival, and many more sentenced to gaol where a good many died of Typhus. It was one of the harshest revolt quashings in England since the War of the Roses and has gone down in infamy.

Needless to say, this is not how to deal with a rebellion.

A good leader needs to be able put down a revolt without causing mass casualties as it only breeds future resentment and enduring hatred. James II was forced to flee England and has never been well loved by her people nor by history, as for Judge Jefferies he died in the Tower of London from Kidney related illness and his name is still hated in the West Country.

David Cameron is in a similar boat following the Lords reform revolt by some 91 MPs. Having had a duly deeply vexed Nick Clegg telling him to get his house in order the Prime Minister has to look long and hard at the reasons for why such a revolt occurred.

In the first instance there are those who genuinely feel that the bill is wrong. They will be the harder ones to reach and it won't be until the bill gets hashed out in Parliament that these MPs may be brought into line in a Hearts and Minds style exercise. Ultimately if they do not agree still, then they don't agree and it is to be expected.

Then there are the others. Lets be honest, there are some Conservative MPs that rightly or wrongly dislike Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats and would happily severe the ties in the Coalition and go it alone - You know who you are...
 When added with trouble makers the whole situation gets exacerbated. These MPs are the ones that Cameron has to deal with strongly. It doesn't matter if they like Us or not they have to look at the Coalition agreement and honour it. If not there will be repercussions.

So far Cameron's handling has been a little reactionary. Some MPs, such as Penny Mordaunt of Portsmouth, who had been pipped for a ministerial position or aide duties have had those doors closed whether long or short term only time will tell. Other aides have either resigned or in the case of Angie Bray been sacked, their positions most likely going to more loyal MPs.

Then on Wednesday it was reported in the Evening Standard that Mr Cameron had an angry exchange with Jesse Norman MP (leader of the rebellion) which one witness described as Verbal Colonic irrigation. This has of course been played down by the PM's office as well as by friends of Mr Norman and the event was described as Mr Cameron being "Testy" rather than livid.

Later on though Mr Norman and Nadhim Zahawi MP were forced to drink up and leave the Commons bar before the chief whip  John Randall arrived. Apparently Mr Randall was effervescent with rage that the line had been defied so strongly even to the point of doing an Eric Joyce! According to the Standard a female MP stated; Jesse has just been bullied off the estate.

Although the rebellion needs to be dealt with for Coalition unity and to quash both sides devolving into a tit-for-tat battle of Well they didn't support us on... it needs to be done so properly and deftly. Throwing weight around a viciously putting down this rebellion will only breed contempt and further problems not only for the Government but also for David Cameron's leadership.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Update

Time away with Sophie, Sam and baby #2
Dear all,

Just a brief announcment of what is coming up over the next month or so.

As some of you are probably aware my Son (second child) is due in just about two weeks time and I will be taking a four week break to spend with my family. This means that pretty much all Twitter communication will cease to happen and unfortunately there will be little activity on this blog as well.

There may be the odd post go up but service will be suspended for the most part.

To be honest I have to go away and rethink a few things anyway. I'm losing the enjoyment factor of writing and so need to evaluate it.

As and when I do come back (IF) there will also be a reduced amount of posts. I've been slogging my guts out over the last six months constantly trying to get higher figures than the month before, so far May sticks out with 7000 odd views! However I feel quality is lacking in places so I need to address that.

I will however be reading and writing for my new blogpost intermittently http://boredhistorian.blogspot.co.uk/ where I can write with impunity and not vex anyone unduly, and also for my fiction blog http://gingerwerther.blogspot.co.uk

I will be checking email regularly in my duties as group Secretary so feel free to badger me there about things and I shall be checking Twitter every so often but please don't expect a ready reply.

Any who, hope everyone is well and has enjoyed the Blog so far.

All the best

Chris

Gingerliberal

Friday, 13 July 2012

Petition against Boris Island

We must fight Boris island Together
Two articles caught my eye on Boris Island and the Estuary airport in the last week. The first was a letter from Medway to David Cameron wanting an answer sooner rather than later on the Consultation by local reporter Alan McGuinness.


The Second was on Libdemvoice by the Secretary of the Medway Libderal Democrats… Oh wait, that’s me. Sorry, I know it is a shameless plug but if you don’t want to read it I’ll give you the general gist.


Basically having read this and the line;


Send Cameron and Clegg a message that no means no.


Well considering the Liberal Democrats, Clegg and Dr Julian Huppert MP have been vocal in our stand against it I felt it was somewhat unfair of Cllr Osborne to lump us in with the Tories on this one. However I urged the party and Nick to be even more vocal and to take a stand on this.


Then in the comments a fellow Libdem from Southend posted this link to a petition against Boris Island.


I’ve signed it and now I’m inviting all my readers from Medway who are opposed to the project to do the same thing.


There comes a time when we’ve all got to put down our Political affiliation and colours for the bigger picture and for the people we represent. Its easy for us to sit in our different coloured groups of Red, Blue, Gold and Green and be distrustful of the others or not want to link our names or party to another’s initiative but this is one of the rare issues that transcends all of this.


Should this airport be built then we will all suffer, either we stand together or we fall.


So please – please sign the petition.




Thanks.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Councillor Stamp to appologise to Libdems

This is almost a Ronseal style blog post.
Guilty: Andy Stamp

Following on from the nastiness that occurred back in 2010 which saw the then Libdem Cllr Stamp (former PPC) turn on his ward mates Cllrs Cathy Sutton and Maureen Ruparel and accuse former Libdem Councillor and local agent Alan Jefferies of harassment. (even more here)

Alan Jefferies then reported Cllr Stamp for harassment towards Cathy and Maureen.

He has been found guilty according to the Standard's agency review.

As I understand it two letters of apology have been drafted by the Council's Legal officer for dispatch to Maureen and Cathy but the weird thing is Cllr Stamp doesn't need to sign them and there is no way to make him! This seems a bit like someone apologising for their mate stealing your car.

The next tier is that he is to be reprimanded at the next Full Council meeting - yet again the Legal officer is having issues with this as it has never been done before!

It all seems like a paper tiger with no teeth to me. If you have been caught doing something wrong (whatever your party) you should be reprimanded. Why have these punishments in place if you cannot or will not carry them out?

I guess the main thing now is that the whole bloody thing is over. We can bury the hatchet (or try to) and get on with things and not dwell on this whole ugly episode. We just want to move on, can we just draw a line under it all now?

Here's the KM's article on it.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lords Reform and Rebels

Well, there has been a victory of some sorts yesterday. Although the vote was passed there has also been a Government retreat on a time limit.

It reminds me of the Battle of Edge Hill in 1642 where despite heavy fighting and Parliament withdrawing the Royal Army was bloodied enough that it was unable to proceed into London.

Although the Bill's not dead without a time limit we could be facing it being kicked into the long grass and it dropping into obscurity.

Like the Civil War I fear that this will become a long and drawn out affair wrought with ugliness after the first skirmish was inconclusive. We can but wait and see how the Bill and more importantly the Coalition Government are going to weather this storm.

Lord Oakshott said;
Nick Clegg has to hold his nerve, David Cameron has to placate the Tory right who think they have tasted blood and Ed Miliband needs say how long he wants for debate.


Whilst Conor Burns said;
This is a clear victory for Parliament against an irrelevant political obsession of the Libdems.


Which is in contrast to Nick's release last night;

This evening we overwhelmingly won an historic vote on the Second Reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill - a Bill that will finish something our party started a century ago. 
This is a huge triumph for our party, and a clear mandate to deliver much needed reforms to the House of Lords



In the end some 91 Conservative MPs rebelled and within an hour a list was online. Alistair Stewart tweeted that they were;

Tory rebels on Lords reform an eclectic bunch. Career riskers,career wreckers,careerists,people of principle and 'coat-flappers'.Joyful mix.

As you look down the list there are several names that are not a surprise. Some may have voted that way to cause trouble with the Libdems or to show Clegg up...


But in there, there are also those who are fighting for principle and their beliefs that this bill is wrong as much as I feel it is right and defied the three line Whip. 


Napoleon once said that One man fighting for his Country and beliefs is worth ten conscripts
In this case ten people who have been whipped.

Although I don't necessarily agree with them on this, I do respect their stance and their willingness to stand their ground and face the wrath of their superiors. It is rumoured Penny Mordaunt will have voted her way out of a ministerial position, Conor Burns preemptively resigned from his Ministerial aide post.

You have to admire their bravery, and in all seriousness - I do respect those who voted out of principle and belief even though I don't agree with you.

Time will tell how things pan out.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lords Reform; Party's reaction today

I know its late, and I probably shouldn't publish this but what the hey...

Its not over yet!
Here follows the Party's release to members concerning Lords Reform. I hope that this isn't a dead issue and I'll be writing in the coming days as to why it should be supported - but first.... Bed time.

Dear Chris,

This evening we overwhelmingly won an historic vote on the Second Reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill - a Bill that will finish something our party started a century ago.
This is a huge triumph for our party, and a clear mandate to deliver much needed reforms to the House of Lords.

As David Cameron and I have both repeatedly made clear - in the Queen’s speech, in May 2011 in the White Paper and in May 2010 in the Coalition Agreement – the Coalition Government is committed to reforming the House of Lords. And we have every intention of delivering it.
The Liberal Democrats have worked closely with our Conservative partners to bring forward a Bill they could support. We have been reasonable and looked at acceptable compromises at every stage. That is why we agreed to withdraw today’s timetabling motion, to allow the Conservative team in Government take more time over the summer to talk to their backbench colleagues.

When we return in the autumn to vote on this again, we fully expect the Conservatives to deliver this crucial part of the coalition deal - as we have delivered other coalition policies. At the same time, we will increase the pressure on Labour to, as the Guardian put it this morning, ‘simply stand up and do the right thing’ and support these reforms in votes in Parliament when it really counts.

We have been waiting for Lords Reform for 100 years. Today we took a huge step towards delivering it. There will be many more tests ahead, but with your help we will continue to make and win the case for reform.

Best Wishes,

Nick Clegg

Monday, 9 July 2012

Lords reform; divides, threats and consequences

Clegg's Vision for Lords reform must go through
Over the next two days the House of Lords reform proposals, developed by the Cabinet Office and championed by Nick Clegg will be put before the Commons and already there are serious problems.

Not only are there due to be 70 odd Conservative MPs rebelling against the Government line of support but there is also 20 LIBDEM lords who are against the moves as well.

This could ultimately scupper the bill in the Commons and even beyond should the Peers gain more support for the campaign.

If that was not enough there is also the threat hanging over the Coalition of the Libdems not backing Boundary reform. Around 70 Conservative MPs have written an open letter to party Colleagues calling on them not to vote for bill. They argue over the semantics that the Coalition Agreement only says it will look into the Lords Reform and that they have looked - it says nothing about enacting them. According to the BBC at the time of writing, the rebels only need 40 MPs to scupper the whole thing. It is looking bleak for Clegg.

It has also been suggested, and I don't take much stock in this as it was only a summation by a BBC journalist, the Conservative Whips are making a big show of doing something but may actually not doing anything to get MPs to back the Bill.

There has been a mention of retaliation by the Libdems for failure for of the Conservatives to keep their end of the bargain. Richard Reeves, Nick Clegg's former special adviser said in an exclusive with Friday's I that;


It is a a very serious moment for the Government, the vote is hugely significant. It is the critical moment for Lords reform, a once-in-a-generation chance to secure it.

There would be broader consequences for the Government's programme, particularly around political and parliamentary reform. The idea that failure to deliver a government program on Lords reform would be consequence free is for the birds.



He went on to suggest that should they would either not back Boundary reform or should the reform be delayed so that it won't come into effect in 2015 then they will also move that Boundary reforms will not be applicable in 2015.

So?

Well, on rough figures, and I'm sure many opposition Politicos will disagree, the Conservatives would gain 20 extra MPs with the modification of the electoral boundaries. Locally it would mean that Mark Reckless (Rochester & Strood) was a lot safer, Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford) would be a lot safer having lost the Labour marginal ward of Luton & Wayfield and gaining Conservative Hempstead & Wigmore but Rehman Chishti (Gillingham & Rainham) would be on dicier ground having gained Luton & Wayfield.

Why is Lord's reform so important to the Libdems? Well as Lando Calrissian said in Return of the Jedi;
We won't get another shot at this Admiral.

It has been a Liberal aim for other a century and the party want to make the Lords more accountable to the people and electable - thus accountable. It was one of the key points of the Coalition Agreement that we got this chance but it looks dead before its got off the ground for innumerate reasons including whether it is more accountable, its messing with tradition, its the wrong time, they didn't back Jeremy Hunt...

However should it die I would suggest one of two options.

1. End the Coalition. Yep, that's what I said. Not in a selfish We're not getting our way style but if it is going to break up into tit for tat repercussions then the Clegg/Cameron Marriage has turned into one of those bitter divorces where you stay together for the kids (deficit) and no one will benefit from it so you might as well call it a day now.

2. Notch it up to experience, say We tried and blame the Conservatives come election time and hope that the next century flies by...


The angry Libdem within me is really tempted by 1: but I know the serious one thinks 2: is the only option. After all, paying off the deficit is as Nick once said;
What we have to do, before we can do what we want to do.


This is an issue I don't believe should be kicked into the long grass and should not definitely not become the target of tit-for-tat revenge style politics. More Democracy and greater Freedoms is what its all about isn't it?

I would urge (almost beg) any Conservative MPs to please - look at the merits, think of the good and democracy that is being proposed and vote with the Government. If you don't agree with it that's OK too, just please vote No for the right reasons and not for a dislike of Clegg, us, or to cause trouble only vote No because you disagree with it.


I don't want to sound all dramatic but I think the future of the Coalition and indeed the nature that it conducts its business is in the balance and will be decided by 10pm tomorrow and I really think we could be entering a new era.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Eu Referendum to come?

They're coming on in the same old style...


Large swathes of the Old guard, behind the Middle and Young guard marching with the deep pounding of the kettle drums. A vast sea of blue under the blue, white and red banners chanting the same drone over and over again...

This is not, however, the French Imperial Guard coming up to Maitland's position at Waterloo, rather the Eurosceptic echelons of the Conservative party.

Yet another blue storm is erupting over Europe with the Euro sceptic MPs writing to Mr Cameron and now Dr Fox is similiarly positioning himself in the same wing and applying pressure.

So what do they want now?

Nothing that's unreasonable. They simply ant legislation put into place to ensure that there will be a public referendum regarding the EU This is not by a small group of malcontents but 100 of them, about 1 in 3!

John Barron MP said that:


The heart and soul of the Conservative parliamentary party, and the country wants and needs a referendum.


Many are feeling that they are chasing phantoms, even Peter Bone asked at PMQs the other week;
When are we going to do what the Libdems promised?
Mark Pritchard has said; Once again when it comes to Europe, it is always 'Jam tomorrow'  but tomorrow never comes.


I share a certain amount of empathy with them. As a Liberal and a student of History I know how important Lords reform is for our party (indeed democracy in general) and how long we've waited for this chance to finally finish the work of Asquith.
It has been less of a wait but yes, the Tories have been itching for this for years, and it is no longer just Their issue. It is an issue we've all promised to look at as the nature of the EU has changed so dramatically over the years.

Now Doctor Fox and others are pushing so that a mechanism that will force an election by the next Parliament will come into force. This is not the first time, nor likely to be the last time, it was one of the many issues that caught them out in '97. Although Cameron has the ability to blame us for being nice to the EU and working with them.

In a way, the referendum would be a good thing. The British people have not been asked about membership since Edward Heath and the EU has massively evolved since then and treaties have been signed left right and centre. It is fair, and democratic that they are asked. I agree with Mary Dejevsky's comment in the I on 6th July, Europe is the one political problem that is on everyone's lips, after the cuts obviously. We all knew the banks were crooked, that MPs diddled their expenses; nothing new and nothing that will change. Europe is the debate they all want, the debate that could see real change and the people get their own way on something.

My major concern over it, and this is more a personal point rather than a party political one. The British people have always been slightly xenophobic, especially with Europe. I fear that Euro sceptics and those who want to break the Union will focus on this rather than engage in a real debate in which Europe's good points are taken into account.

There is also the European leaders who know that Britain has this massive reserve about the EU and this sense of Grand separation from the Union or sense of "Otherness" and have to constantly pander to Britain and keep them on side in case they throw their toys out of the pram. If we're going to go lets just get it over with. If the public return with a "Yes" vote then we can stop debating it in Parliament. Everyone will be stronger for a referendum one way or the other.

There is also the theory that this recent announcement and vocal noise comes from a would be resurgent Conservative party that wants to differentiate itself from the Coalition and the Liberal Democrats in the same way that there have been announcements about "entitlement" and cutting housing benefit to under 25s. Are they looking at 2015 and thinking laying the ground work now? Who can say.

Ultimately, I think that the Government should grant the Euro sceptics their wish and gift them the mechanism to enforce a referendum in 2015 or later OR when there is a shift of sovereign powers. It is the right thing for the population, whether it is right for the country - well that's for the people to decide.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Please support Lords reform.

An elected body would be suited for all
Back in May I wrote about the timing of the Lords reform and questioned whether now is the right time?

Then on Wednesday I got chatting to Ed who raised the following point;

When is a good time? There will always be something that is arguably more important than constitutional reform.

Its true. Our political system, financial structures and society are all broken in one way or another. It would be too simplistic to blame the last Labour government, the problem is too systematic and embedded in years of neglect or poor policy.

The Coalition was founded on a need for change and for bringing the Country up to date. Part of that is the change in the House of Lords.

It would be easy to say this is a Liberal Democrat obsession and vanity project but that is just not so. After all greater democracy and freedom is or should be the aim of all the parties. The House of Lords, an unelected body is still a throw back to Yesteryear, it is also seen as a retirement hall for Prime Minister's favourite lackeys such as Oona King who has been risen to the Peerage in 2011 having only been in Parliament for 1997-2005.
There's also Anglican bishops in the House ruling on Parliamentary laws etc that effect people of many religions. Back in the 17th-18th Centuries there was only Protestantism in this country but in a land with a growing multi-cultural society is it fair that the Anglicans can pass a law that could offend Muslims without their Holy men being given a say?

By voting for Nick Clegg's proposals it will be making the whole House of Lords accountable to the voters and the people of the UK. How can this be a bad thing?

An upper House is necessary to act as a brake on the law making system but an elected one would be more preferable. After all it works in Canada, America, Germany... Why are we still holding onto this Medieval hangover?

Surely more democracy is a good thing?

As for the time argument... There is a lot that the Coalition needs to do, and with so many things to change or bring into play and it is going to take years to do. We can push this through and change it with in a few years with massive dividends. With more democracy and more say it could encourage more people to vote as their say is being taken into account rather than having an unelected Second house that gets to doctor and scrutinise the elected body's work.

If this move is not supported now, it may never occur again in our lifetimes. We've already waited the best part of a Century for this and lets be honest... there won't be a Liberal Democrat Government for many years to come and the other two parties like the Status quo on this.

More democracy and freedom is undeniably a good thing. If you feel as strongly as I do then please Tell your MP how you feel. It will only take a couple of minutes but could be the most important thing you ever do. I've contacted Rehman Chishti, my MP, I'm not holding my breath but it is the least I can do.

Change is good in this case and the time is now or it may never happen again.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Chatham's Future PPC drops a clanger?

This morning I arose to find a tweet with a link to Cllr Chris Irvine's blog post (here) about Cllr Osborne's shiny new website having an advert for a Legal Loan shark company on it.


I found this most intriguing and entertaining but felt I should dig deeper and not just jump on the bandwagon. After all truth is the one thing that should be strived for and attained in these matters.


Cllr Osborne's defence is that the website, in this case Google through its subsidiary Youtube, checks your cookies (as he so condescendingly put it to me this morning) and applies an add accordingly.


This is indeed true, and Cllr Osborne is innocent in this case... Or is he?


I took a quick look at the link on Adchoices... (if you look under the ad you'll see the link marked "Adchoices") and it says;


While Google often shows you ads based on the content of the page you are viewing, we also show some ads based on the types of websites you visit, view, or where you interact with an ad or other Google product supported by Google's advertising services.


So... it is based on what is on the page you are currently looking at and what is in your cookies so it is indeed possible that it isn't just Cllr Irvine's Internet cookies... Especially that I have looked at the site and got a similar link and have never looked into a loan website in my life!


Ultimately though it is a battle of semantics and I care not one Iota either way.In fact if I hadn't been spoken to like some sort of Lackwit I wouldn't have even bothered writing this...


The point is that it may not be his fault entirely but Cllr Osborne should take the following into consideration:


1. The Cookie policy of his website which he claims is clear on his site is about as clear as the Medway under Rochester bridge.


Firstly it is under "contacts" which I'm sure is not where many would look for it and I would suggest to end further confusion that it is put under "Disclaimer"


Secondly the language, which is used is hardly clear to those of the Internet community that can run the thing but aren't able to tell you how it works.


2. There are plenty of other video programs other than Youtube online. It would be wise for a future PPC with designs on Parliament to think about all possible outcomes and possibilities. Esepcially one who has reported other's for similar lapses...




The media, especially the real of the Internet, is a vast uncharted minefield - one false step can bring untold chaos and criticism and there are plenty of people watching and waiting.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Nick and Dave's partnership has taken the next step?

On Monday evening my wife and I had an argument…

Not a major one but one of those annoying ones where I was being told off for something I felt was unfair and brought up countless counter arguments that could have lead to an escalation had I not played the age old Male line of Yes Dear through gritted teeth.
Shifting relationship between Nick and Dave?

We’ve been together for eight years and married fro three and are well past the loved up, everything’s rosy stage. We’ve settled into a more comfortable pattern of being good together and focused on our joint goals (Sophie and the future child due in a few weeks) as well as having our individual interests and activities. Now we can go out individually and see our separate friends. It isn’t a bad thing, its just the next phase of any relationship, they can’t stay fresh forever.

Similarly, I believe that the Coalition leadership, mainly in the form of Nick and Dave’s “marriage” is undergoing the same change.

Lets be honest, the metaphor of “Marriage” between the two leaders is fairly apt, not in a humorous “ha-ha they’re at it” way, we’ve heard it all before, but in a very real way.

Marriage is the meeting of two individual people with different ideas with common ground and aims and this is what this brief joining of the Liberal democrats and the Conservative parties. We have got a similar aim in the form of tackling the deficit left by Labour and providing Social and Political changes including the cleaning up of Parliament.

We all remember the Rose garden, though at the time I was welcoming my daughter into the world so have only seen highlights and images but I remember the ethos. The first year was a tough one but Nick and Dave held together in public and showed the world a combined front that was still very much together and focused on the aims. So the Libdems had to swallow the bitter pill of tuition fees but at the same time the Conservatives had to put forward and agree to the worry of Electoral reform – Imagine how annoyed hard-line Conservatives would have been had AV gone through?

This period has ended though, partly because of necessity and because they are individuals representing very different parties with very different ideals.

There is now under three years until the next General Election and both party leaders need to start thinking about life after the Coalition and Winning the election and surviving. Already the Conservatives are flexing their muscles and talking about changing housing benefit rules and serious pushing for an In/out referendum for Europe. Now is the time that the Libdems should start pushing their own individuality, and this is indeed happening. Look at our public decree of nothing to do with Murdoch’s empire at Leveson or pushing for the removal of Bob Diamond or being the driving force for breaking up the banks?

There have also been some very PUBLIC falling outs.

Remember Nick’s public comments about Dave’s actions during the European meetings last Autumn on the Marr show?

How about the documented heated arguments over the position of Jeremy Hunt?  It was through somewhat gritted teeth that the order to abstain was passed to the whips and a somewhat flimsy but justifiable excuse of Labour’s similar guilt was trotted out just to please their Coalition partners.

Nick and Dave are only human, but their differing ideologies and individuality was always going to come out after time and I believe this time has passed and a new phase has been entered.

When, and I know I’m being pessimistic here, the Conservatives and Labour vote down the Lords reform that Nick is putting to the house tomorrow I think the final die will have been cast and these hairline fractures will become proper cracks and the new phase of the Coalition and indeed Nick and Dave will definitely be visible.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Double edged sword of Library closures.

Admiral Daala, my hero as a kid
In the week that Rochester was named in the top 5 best read Cities and Towns by Amazon based on its sales and me finishing the thousand page tome that was Storm of Swords, I’m going to resurrect a draft I started writing a year ago about Library closures.

It would be fair to say that I am a fan of books... well that's an understatement, I have my own library with an unknown number of titles, some are quite rare, a couple are all in German, some copies memoirs of long dead Feldmarschalls or Politicians and campaign histories for wars forgotten by the average person.

I've also got a large fiction section too, especially when combined with Dostoevsky, Goethe, Schiller, Tolkien, Pratchett, Bonaparte add this to my Wife's almost complete Stephen King collection and vast section of Philosophy and Religious books we have a room dedicated to them.

As a youth I hacked my way through my local library's Doctor Who books and history and as an adult with a four hour journey time to and from work I find myself reading the paper or my Kindle (best present ever!) every day.

In my time I have ridden into battle, stood in the ruins of Stalingrad, travelled through time and space, stood next to Admiral Daala aboard Knighthammer, witnessed great horror, fled from Pennywise the clown, shared the sorrows of young Werther, climbed great mountains and single handedly defeated great Evil. They have been epic journeys. Ones I'd like my daughter to take. Sophie is read to every day at bed time and during the day sometimes. she's been exposed to the Hobbit, Star Wars, Roald Dahl, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, poems, Children’s books, Tunnels under London and even some Goethe in German and English. She loves her books and knows some of her picture books by heart even at the young age of two. We will always encourage reading in her as our families encouraged us.
As my Grandfather used to say; Knowledge is power
Books are one of the most valuable things in the world and a few of mine are listed in my most precious belongings.
Things have changed in the world now a days. There are other methods of storing information making it a lot more accessible. Kindles and Ipads can carry a virtual library on a small digital pad less than half a centimeter thick! Then there is also the internet, something that twenty years ago was not always readily available but is now ubiquitous. Instead of going down the library and looking for a book on a subject which may or not be there, paying to order in a rare biography (the two I wanted were von Ribbentrop's and Schellenberg's) or wandering into a second hand bookstore and on a rare occasions striking Gold - I can now get the information online or order it from an online store anywhere in the country!

The Sitcom How I met your Mother once postulated that the great Bar debate is now over and it is indeed true. How many times, before Internet phones, would you find yourself debating a topic or trying to remember which film you've seen that guy in, what was the batting average of Ian Botham or who would win in a fight between a TIE-wing and an X-wing? These debates could go on all night but now just ask the question and within minutes some smart arse has summoned up Google, IMDB or Wikipedia and answered it.

Time is also a factor in the death of books. If I didn't have my train journey to and from work my reading time would be deeply impacted. My wife has often told me to stop being Anti-social and put the Kindle/book/ newspaper away. If I want escapism and a good story there is my second love - movies. I'm a slow reader (about 20 pages an hour) and to read Lord of the Rings it would take me around 51 hours where as I can watch the films in 12! I'm a fan of 80's and 90's movies when there was plot and intrigue rather than gratuitous sex, violence and effects at the expense of story. Films like Willow, Star Wars (IV, V and VI not I and II), Labyrinth, Jaws, Jurassic park... etc.
Movie making has come a long way since then and before when it was all models and stop motion (which I still enjoy) the imagination was so much more crisp and sharper than anything that could be put onto film. Now, modern CGI can produce even better imagery than the imagination. This coupled with the rise of Computer games and consoles has put books further down the list of activities. The beauty of the Computer game is that I make the decisions where as General Burgoyne made his back in 1777 and Admiral Daala is tied to Kevin J. Anderson's narrative. I've flown countless sorties over four continents in countless aircraft types, fought the Dark lord Sauron with my own sword, ruled kingdoms, constructed great Castles and Empires, brought the King's Justice, killed more German Service men than died in World War Two and saved/destroyed the world. It is hard for books to compete with this.


Kids, indeed people are less involved in books. The Evening Standard ran frightening statistics that showed that child literacy, even adult literacy, was way below what it should be and have run a successful campaign to try and improve reading in schools and trying to combat library closures.
The Imperial War Museum ran a temporary gallery about Books based on wartime such as War horse, Carrie's War, the Machine gunners et. al but it failed to raise any real interest with the public, probably because no one reads anymore!
So why do we need Libraries then?

The purpose of Public Libraries was to bring books and knowledge to the people, especially the people who did not have the disposable income to buy their own. As great repositories of information covering wide ranging subjects anyone who wanted to know anything or wanted to lose themselves in fantasy could do so - all for Free!!!

Now however there are so many things that you can do and people have much more of a disposable income and can go out to theatres, watch documentaries on things, look stuff up online, lose themselves in epic movies or the mindless dross of soap operas... Books are so inexpensive these days too and so readily available, even delivered to your front door! Why go to the library?

In fact I remember seeing interviews with people so adamant that their local Libraries should be protected but then admitted they had never been to it!!!

The old adage comes to play; Use it or lose it.
Why should local authorities or National Government continue to fund a project that is not used? Isn't that the definition of a waste of money? Better NHS funding or a Library that isn't used?

It is easy political points to say you are opposed to the closure of a small library and cutting in their funding and staff. It takes a bigger person to make the hard decision (potential vote losing one too) that the Library must be closed. It is a decision that hurts me, something that is against my very soul and beliefs but one I grudgingly support. Not because I want to see the public robbed of a valuable resource but because the public do not realise what they have and no longer feel they need and let’s be honest we do need to save money...

I will say this though... show all wings of Government they're wrong - use your libraries. Lose yourself in a book or nine. Turn the TV off, pick up a book - draw your sword and plunge into Westeros or Middle-earth or whatever takes your fancy. Just go and use them or you will lose them.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Real reson we have a deficit

Lord Mandelson's Deathstar?
The other night, all round Twitter Good guy John Ward (@john_m_ward) sent me a link with the financial break down of how much it would cost to build a Deathstar battle station.

As a Star Wars nerd I found this amazing, but it got me to thinking about something the controversial comedian Frankie Boyle once said. I cannot quote him word for word but on Mock the Week it was suggested that Lord Peter Mandelson was so evil that he was visiting his family in Mordor... No hang on that was something different... it was something about him being a Lord so he could build his own Deathstar.

Looking at the cost, the true evil of Peter Mandelson as well as the obvious need of the Labour Government for a floating battle station with enough power to destroy a planet (or at least make a country uninhabitable with a concentrated blast).

Where did they get the plans from Chris - Emperor Palpatine?

Don't be silly.

As much as it pains me to admit, the Star Wars universe is f-... is f-... It is too far to communicate with.

However after the Starship Enterprise (A,B,C,D and E), the Millennium Falcon, and TARDIS, the Deathstar's technical readouts are all over the internet and in every Star Wars geek's collection. Hell I've had it since I was 14!

Death Star Schematics from a swift Google search
So why do Labour need a Deathstar?

Well, think about it... Its a long shot but hold onto this...

What would not only generate British Business and production and provide massive employment before and after completion?

What could solve the housing crisis without building on Green spaces?

Also, think of this... Imagine the power Bob Crow and his lackeys at the RMT or Mark Sewotka at PCS would have over other groups for pay negotiations.

However the deficit is mere billions the Deathstar in your website costs vast amounts more.


Ok, you've got me there and then my mind turned to another movie; Superman III the one with Richard Prior.

For those of you haven't watched as many movies as me basically Richard Prior comes up with a scheme to get rich quick. You know when banks work out interest etc. and it goes to 10 decimal points well that all disappears, or does it? A clever accountant/hacker could harvest it and put it in a high interest account. Think how much money that would generate over a 13 year administration!

My mind also went to the movie Independence Day where Geoff Goldblum's father says something along the lines of;

What you think it costs them $50 for a hammer, $200s for a toilet seat do you?

How many MPs put sundries on their expenses and fed the money into the fund? How many claimed expenses on a Duck house or wooden spoon but still paid for it themselves but put the claimed money into the Deathstar fund?

The big worry for the Labour party at the moment is that the Liberal Democrat's are obviously against all kinds of Weapons of mass destruction and the monopoly of the State in this and could you imagine the furore if we ever had to look at firing the damn super weapon? The focus groups, the splits, the Parliamentary group vs. the Grass roots at Conference, the surveys, Social Libdem forum having a say against the Orange bookers... it'd be madness! The Tories will want to Privatise it, in which case we're all doomed - Could you imagine Southeastern trains running it?

This is an important announcement... All lifts to the Southern Hemisphere have been cancelled as the whole bottom half of the station has fallen off.
Or worse yet, Baroness Warsi might use it... Or Boris...

What was that Bob... another tube strike? Bugger that! Commence Primary ignition What?

The big question is... was it completed? Is it in a state that Deathstar II was in Return of the Jedi, half complete, half skeletal or is it hiding behind the moon somewhere.


Or more to the point - I'm just joshing with you!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Dodgy siren and Hazardous waste - the woes of the Isle of Grain


LNG plant on the Isle of Grain
There has been quite a stir on the Twittersphere over recent months with local resident Jack Hope (@jacklhope) bombarding local politicians/politicos for help and about the Health and Safety concerns of the village of Grain and the Liquid Gas plant in their proximity. It is something I have been meaning to look into and right about for sometime but time is constantly flitting past me without me being able to do half the things I want to do - It’s now only 4 weeks until my second child is born!

Any way, now I've got some wind in my sails and a couple of articles from Friday's Messenger, which saves me a lot of research time and FOI requests!

Right first off the Siren.

Now as I understand it, there was a lot of pressure from residents, led by Mr Hope, for a warning system for the villagers in case there was an emergency at the Gas plant. Although the chances of there being a problem at the plant are exceptionally low there are indeed concerns for the villagers who live in close to the plant.
The fact that should there be a major incident the residents sit under a blast or gas radius, there's only one road onto the island etc...

That's by the by though and the Council Health and Safety committee has looked into it and I do not know enough to add to the war of words and opinions on this matter so I shan't attempt to.

What can be said is that the Council promised to install it last September and this week it was tested, three loud blasts were sounded.

One minor *cough* snag was that it wasn't audible across the whole area!

Parish Councillor Chris Buckwell (con) said; I spoke to two or three villagers, one of whom didn't hear it
Nor did the local Primary school.

Councillor Mike O'Brien, respected head of Community Safety who was part of a Council team present for the test is quoted as admitting it was Work in progress and We had a whole team of officers out there investigating it and once we have sat down in the cold light of day and looked at the results properly we will know where to go next

The Siren cost £24,000 and as Councillor O'Brien says [It] wasn't legally necessary but I thought it was a good reassurance for the residents. My firm belief is the residents of Grain have absolutely nothing to fear.

I would like to remind Mike; somewhat cheekily that White Star line said the same thing about the Olympic class liners. It was considered that the safety measures in the design were sufficient enough to withstand any collision "likely" to occur and that they had the Legally required amount of lifeboats and a few extras. Cue an Iceberg and the Titanic.
What I mean is, when it comes to disasters it doesn't matter what safety measures are put in! Some one should have looked at the design specs before it was implemented and questioned if it was loud enough. Still, I'm sure its being looked at now.

Next up, a hazardous waste dump?

The Development Company Peel is in the early stages of proposing a 120 acre site right next to the village of Grain. This is not the first time that such a site has been proposed and Parish Councillor Chris Buckwell defeated the last one. Things are different now of course...

The last Government changed the rules of such building schemes saying that if it was of National importance it could over rule elected officials and locals... Well that's not democracy or respecting one's citizens. Good Job Labour.

Unelected planning inspectors will make the decision instead of Medway councillors. We're very disappointed about that. Says Cllr Buckwell.

The site itself well deal with cleaning Industrial Gas burners, using specially created bacteria to eat pollutants, soil cleansing and other measures but will not handle hospital or radioactive waste. There is also an agreement with the company that they will fully consult with the residents at every stage of the process. Ultimately though it will be up to the inspectors rather than the elected Council.

Although it is to be a wide open process and with the company giving exhibitions to the Villagers I would trust that should they truly oppose the site stringently with good cause that it would not go ahead.
Though I would strongly suggest to the people of Grain, Mr Hope and Cllr Buckwell - look at the Localism Act. An awesome bit of Liberal Democrat inspired legislation that gives local neighbourhood groups the power to fight such moves and Councils. I'm not overly clear on the details, as I said at the beginning Time is escaping me but seriously guys... take a look... it may help.

References.

Gas leak warning siren seen - but not always hear - By Dan Bloom, p 21, Medway messenger 29-6-12

Village earmarked for a SECOND hazard-waste dump - By Dan Bloom, p 11, Medway Messenger 29-6-12