Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Scrap the BBC Tax

BBC HR chief Lucy Adams

BBC HR chief Lucy Adams

Not content with paying the top bosses in the BBC six-figure payoffs and taking home over £300,000 a year herself, former HR director Lucy Adams is now using licence fee payers’ money to launch legal action against the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) after they complained in August about her HR department using “bullying as a means of control“. Adams instructed lawyers and her senior colleagues authorised her legal bill to be paid by the public. Charming.

Lucy Adams has said she is leaving the corporation in March next year to “try something new”. She was severely criticised by MPs when she appeared in front of the Public Accounts Committee during the BBC executive pay scandal with a member of the panel, Conservative Stewart Jackson MP, saying she “presided over” a culture of “corporate fraud and cronyism”.

Is this what we pay the licence fee for? As another junket for the boss class? It is immoral enough when private sector corporations have one rule for themselves and another for the workforce when it comes to pay and expenses but to have a massive national organisation like the BBC act in the same way with taxpayers’ money is beyond reproach.

More than ten per cent of all court cases in this country are for TV licence non-payments. Whilst Lucy Adams and her cronies have their snouts at the licence fee trough, single mothers are dragged in front of a judge because they couldn’t scrape together the £145.50 demanded by law to pay the legal fees of HR directors and payoffs to Director-Generals, one of whom only did the job for 54 days before being booted out!

It’s time to not just cut the BBC tax but scrap it altogether. State broadcasters are from an era when television had to be provided by the taxpayer as there weren’t any other capable broadcasters able to entertain the masses. Now with a zillion channels to choose from and a global market of television companies (look at the massive success of America’s HBO!) the BBC really is redundant and, frankly, quite sinister: aren’t State broadcasters now just the preserve of countries with tin-pot dictators who use it to spout communist loony lefty claptrap?

If David Cameron had some gumption, he would go into the next election promising to scrap the hated licence fee. Come on Dave, what are you waiting for?

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LISTEN: The BBC comes to Ipswich and interviews local blogger

bbc radio 4

Ipswich was featured again tonight as the chosen marginal seat for political analysis on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme – this time ahead of the Conservative Party conference. Last week Labour figures were interviewed in Ipswich ahead of Ed Miliband’s party gathering in Brighton.

This evening current Ipswich constituency chairman Liz Harsant was interviewed by BBC political correspondent Ben Wright – as was yours truly in my capacity as a former chairman of the Ipswich Conservative Party. Needless to say our views didn’t tally…

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer also offered his views on the state of the Conservative Party and British politics along with County Councillor James Crossley representing UKIP.

Liz Harsant told Mr Wright she was “not totally against the Coalition [government]” as it “knocks the Right down” and “wasn’t against it [another Coalition] happening again”. When asked what she thought of Tory backbenchers making it clear they don’t believe David Cameron can win a majority at the next General Election Mrs Harsant said she “wished they’d shut up and perhaps go”.

I hope Liz doesn’t think I should shut up and go after hearing my views on the same programme! Speaking on Ipswich’s Cornhill (happily the market wasn’t trading the day we recorded) I said whereas I had voted for David Cameron in the Conservative leadership election in 2005, I was not happy with his tack to the Left in an attempt to “detoxify the party” and whilst I welcomed the Coalition’s policies on welfare reform and the economy (albeit the government has not gone far enough) other policies on gay marriage and wind farms go against the values of ordinary Conservative Party members.

Commenting on UKIP’s successes in the Suffolk County Elections in May, Ben Gummer told PM listeners he hoped as we head towards the election people will listen closer to the arguments from all parties and those who have voted UKIP will look at the “real choice ahead of the country in 2015.”

James Crossley said he was picking up a lot of new UKIP members and commented immigration was out of control and that UKIP’s commitment to tackling this was resonating well with voters in Ipswich.

I was pleased Ipswich was chosen by the BBC for their pre-Conference reports and demonstrates again Ipswich’s capacity for political excitement on the national stage. It was also great to be able to show off Ipswich town centre and our magnificent Cornhill square and Town Hall without it being blocked by the market stalls.

You can hear the report from tonight’s PM programme below:

 


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Ipswich Star plays catch-up to local blogosphere

BBC beeline: Graffiti and boarded-up shops in Upper Orwell Street

BBC beeline: Graffiti and boarded-up shops in Upper Orwell Street

The Morning Ipswich Star have finally woken up to the story about how the national broadcast media portrayed Ipswich as run-down and overwhelmed by immigrants in their prime-time news bulletins covering David Cameron’s immigration speech at University Campus Suffolk on Monday.

Today, their political editor, Paul Geater, has boasted on Twitter that the Morning Ipswich Star has three pages (although most of the space is taken up by photos) dedicated to the story that Ipswich Spy and Gavin Maclure’s Musings covered extensively yesterday. I suppose that’s the problem with the dead tree press media: they can’t help but play catch-up but the Morning Ipswich Star does have a semblance of a website now so it’s not much of an excuse really.

Like all newspapers, the Morning Ipswich Star failed to credit the Ipswich Spy or Gavin Maclure’s Musings blogs for developing the story preferring to scrape a few tweets off Twitter and then – in typical deluded Star-style – did a vox pop on how wonderful everything is in Ipswich and we are the third happiest place in the world (ok, just the UK!).  The same paper then has Mr Geater write about how Ipswich is suffering a deeper recession than other places! Go figure.

You’re either in front of the blogosphere, or behind…


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Ipswich not served well by Number 10 media machine

This would have been a better backdrop for Ipswich

This would have been a better backdrop for Ipswich

The national media rode into town yesterday for Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech laying out the Government’s vision for controlling immigration into the UK. Things were hopefully planned with the best intentions by Number 10 and I trust Ipswich MP Ben Gummer also made sure Ipswich would get a good press.

Although things do not always go to plan and yesterday was no exception. The first impression the PM and the travelling media pack got of our part of the world was the appalling Great Eastern mainline. True to form, the train would not move further north than Essex which meant David Cameron and his entourage had to alight one stop before Ipswich at Manningtree and continue their journey by car to Ipswich’s Waterfront. I presume David Cameron’s vehicle security detail had to rush down the A12 to pick him up considering they were expecting him at Ipswich railway station? It’s not as if this hasn’t happened to him before; I recall a visit from Mr Cameron when I was the Conservative Party Ipswich constituency chairman in the noughties when the then Leader of the Opposition had to get off his train at Colchester (even further south) due to Network Rail’s incompetence.

But if that memory didn’t cross over into Government, Mr Gummer surely could have reminded the PM that the railway service in East Anglia is horrific? Then the Prime Minister could have just done the entire journey by car and stuff the green movement for a day.

Once David Cameron arrived (late) into Ipswich he was whisked into the back entrance of University Campus Suffolk and straight upstairs to deliver his keynote speech to the bored journalists and a few hand-picked Tory members (those who wouldn’t ask awkward questions, hence I wasn’t invited!). But whilst the speech was being heard, the national broadcast media had teams out in Ipswich trying to find the “immigrant community” and they slyly found the least attractive part of Suffolk’s county town: St Matthew’s Street. This area of Ipswich is known for it’s row of immigrant-run shops from Turkish Kebab houses to Polish delis and unlike in some of the “diverse” areas of London, St Matthew’s Street is also known for its run-down appearance. This was the perfect backdrop for the likes of Sky News, ITN and the BBC for their reports showing vox pops asking if immigrants are claiming benefits without ever working, how the Government intends to stop this (if the EU allows them) and the new coalition proposals to ensure recently-arrived immigrants cannot get a council house. It wasn’t exactly an advert for the Visit Ipswich tourism board!

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David Cameron rushing back to his car after delivering his speech – Image courtesy of Ipswich Spy

The media cannot be told what to report (well, the Royal Charter might try and do that but its not law yet) but Number 10 and Ben Gummer could have done a better job at ensuring David Cameron did not just use University Campus Suffolk as a warm place to deliver a speech but also as a way of promoting Ipswich to a national audience during this recession-hit cold Spring. When the Prime Minister finished his speech (and had the obligatory photos with the select Conservative Party members) he practically ran to his armoured Land Rover, not even stopping for the freezing newspaper and blogosphere photographers kept outside. I am told by a reliable source that the editor of the Morning Ipswich Star, Terry Hunt, desperately tried to get David Cameron to stop somewhere with a backdrop that said Ipswich rather than any old building somewhere in Britain but he was running late (thanks to Greater Anglia and Network Rail!) and needed to get back to London.

And so the dreary side of Ipswich was what made the national news yesterday evening, which is a real shame for a town that finds it difficult to be confident at the best of times.