Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Labour refuse to apologise for disability slur against Tory opponent

Tory attack: Labour's Cllr Carole Jones last night used a Conservative councillor's disability to score a political point

Tory attack: Labour’s Cllr Carole Jones last night used a Conservative councillor’s disability to score a political point

They don’t like it up ’em as Corporal Jones eloquently put it in BBC hit sitcom Dad’s Army. And it was true last night at a full gathering of councillors at Ipswich Borough’s Town Hall when Labour’s Cllr Carole Jones marched headlong into a disability row by publicly ridiculing her Tory opponent over his spelling of the word “embarrassment” in his council question to her.

Tory Cllr Richard Pope demanded an apology from Cllr Carole Jones over disability slur

Tory Cllr Richard Pope demanded an apology from Cllr Carole Jones over disability slur

Conservative Cllr Richard Pope, who was on the receiving end of Cllr Jones slur, stood up on a point of order to state Labour’s Cllr Jones knew he was a registered dyslexic and to use his disability to make fun of him at a public meeting was in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. Cllr Pope then demanded an apology from Cllr Jones. She refused. The Mayor also refused to sanction her from his Chairman’s position.

The Labour Party are always banging on about minority rights, as if they have a monopoly for standing up for the vulnerable in our society, but when they slur a Tory they refuse to apologise. You can hear them thinking “We don’t REALLY care about standing up for discrimination, it’s just a cynical ploy to win votes!” “And let’s face it, they’re TORIES – they don’t count!”.

Say what you like about Conservatives, as a political tribe they stand out as showing common courtesy and decency towards their opponents. I suppose you could call it the the best of British that is prevalent within their ranks. But Labour councillors and MPs have no such qualms when it comes to doing battle with their political adversaries. It wasn’t the first time last night Labour had resorted to personal attacks and defamation to skirt around answering the questions put to the Executive. Cllr Ellesmere decided he didn’t like Tory Blogger and former Conservative candidate Kevin Algar’s question on the status of Ipswich as the county-town of Suffolk and so just blurted out he found Mr Algar’s question “bizarre, just like the person”.

Transport chief Cllr Phil Smart’s immediate response to an earlier question – coincidentally from Cllr Pope – was to give his Tory opponent a less in grammar and the use of the word “infer”. He spent more time admonishing the Conservative councillor’s English language skills rather than answer a question about a bus route in his ward.

Once Labour took their personal attacks up a gear with the disability slur against Cllr Pope, several members of the Tory Group had had enough. Cllr Nadia Cenci rose to her feet and told the Mayor she could no longer continue to partake in a meeting under such conditions where personal attacks against a member of the public and Conservative councillors, including possible illegal action by Cllr Jones, was being condoned by Mr Mayor and the Monitoring Officer.

Cllr Cenci proceeded to walk out of the meeting and was closely followed by former Tory Leader Cllr Liz Harsant and Cllr Pope.

IBC chief executive Russell Williams

IBC chief executive Russell Williams

Sources tell me a formal complaint over Cllr Jones’ behaviour will be sent to Chief Executive Russell Williams. It is important he orders a thorough review and investigation into last night’s exchange (the audio is recorded by the Council) as from the public gallery where I was sitting it sounded like a contravention of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, the Disability Discrimination Act and possibly the Equality Act too.

This blog will be watching carefully for the response from the Council over the next few days.


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Huntingdonshire Council allows filming of public meeting after lengthy battle

Citizen journalist Richard Taylor battled with civil servants and the Council Chairman Cllr Barbara Elizabeth Boddington (who called the civil servants her “elders”!) for half an hour before they reluctantly agreed to allow him to film a PUBLIC meeting.

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government, has recently ruled that all councils should allow filming of their public meetings and the question citizen journalists and bloggers should ask on their arrival in the chamber is not to ask permission to film but to enquire what facilities the council has for citizen journalists like Mr Taylor (e.g. WiFi, power point for charging equipment,  toilet facilities etc).

As you can see from the below footage the Chairman Cllr Boddington and the Head of Democratic Services and the Monitoring Officer (the person who keeps the the council inline with their Constitution), Colin Meadowcroft,  spent a fair bit of time trying to stop Richard Taylor from filming a public council meeting. In the end, after what looks like an intervention from a UKIP councillor, the Conservative Chairman Cllr Boddington relented and allowed (somewhat discourteously) Mr Taylor to film the meeting.

The fact bloggers have to fight tooth and nail for one of the basic tenets of democracy (i.e. transparent reporting) shows how secretive our local councils have become (more akin to the USSR than the UK). It’s time for councils to open up and show taxpayers how their money is being spent and how decisions are made in their name.

I hope Ipswich Borough Council will be making arrangements for their public council meetings to be filmed?


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David Cameron forgets he is not leading a Conservative Government

Price of defeat: David Cameron is leading a Coalition not a Tory Government

Price of defeat: David Cameron is leading a Coalition not a Tory Government

The Conservative Party has started another internal war on Europe. Following one in four voters backing Ukip in the Local Elections two weeks ago, panic has gripped David Cameron’s party. Last week Cabinet members Michael Gove and Philip Hammond said they would vote to leave the EU if a referendum was called today as have former big beasts Lord Lawson, Lord Lamont and Michael Portillo, and up to 100 Tory MPs are due to table an amendment in The Queen’s Speech expressing regret that there was no bill on an EU referendum.

David Cameron, who says he is a Eurosceptic but then changed his mind once he was admitted to the Brussels club after becoming Prime Minister, even tried to use the most powerful man in the world, President Obama, to back down his rebels. It didn’t work. So today he has told the country the Conservative Party, not the Government as the Liberal Democrats are arch-Europhiles, will introduce a draft bill ensuring a Referendum on Britain’s continuing membership takes place by force of law after the General Election in 2015.

There’s only one slight problem: this draft bill isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

Firstly, and this seems to have slipped by Mr Cameron, the Conservative Party is in Coalition with the most ardent EU fanatics in Britain, the Liberal Democrats. Therefore any draft law will have to be tabled as a Private Members’ Bill not a Government Bill. Almost all Private Members’ Bill fail to get past their First reading and those that do such as Gavin Barwell’s Mental Health Discrimination Private Members’ Bill require cross-party support. Secondly, nobody but the Conservative Party (and not all Tory MPs will, especially Europhiles like Ken Clarke and hard-line Eurosceptics) and perhaps a handful of Eurosceptics on the Labour benches will support it. However, even if that was enough for a majority, which it isn’t, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said the British public should not have a referendum, period. So if he orders his own MPs to vote against the EU draft bill then only the Conservative Party (not all Tory MPs) will vote for it with the rest of Parliament voting against it so it will simply not get a majority, and therefore will not even get to Second reading.

It achieves nothing except draw our attention to the fact that David Cameron can do nothing. He lost the General Election in 2010. He does not have a majority. Basic facts, but if remembered would stop our Prime Minister looking like a fool on the world stage.


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Is Labour-run Ipswich Borough Council subsidising this year’s Tory-bashing rally?

TUC Rally - Alexandra Park (5th May 2013)(Front)

The answer is – probably.

The TUC are having their annual rally today in Alexandra Park, east Ipswich, to protest against the ‘cuts’. It’s allegedly a ‘free family event’ but like all socialists they don’t seem to understand nothing in life is free. And especially for the taxpayer.

Last year James Spencer of the Bridge Ward News parish submitted a Freedom of Information request to Ipswich Borough Council asking how much the TUC union were paying to hire the multi-acre park for their yearly event to bash the Tories and promote their socialist ideology through loudspeakers to the local neighbourhoods.

The figure which came back was the laughable £250. That’s less than some businesses charge to hire meeting rooms in the town centre but the Labour-run council think it is the going-rate for hiring out several acres of land to an organisation who want to host multiple stages, amusements, catering outlets and a beer tent! And how much does the council charge the TUC to clear up the litter afterwards? That’s right, nothing.

And there is of course ‘local parking available’. As there is no car park serving Alexandra Park, ‘local parking’ is in fact residential side-streets, including where I live. So I get to subsidise this Far-Left event through my council tax and host additional vehicles down my road. Marvellous.

Comrade: Cllr David Ellesmere

Comrade: Cllr David Ellesmere

Unless Labour council leader Cllr David Ellesmere and his chums have seen the light and started charging the TUC market-rates, I would suggest this is corruption, pure and simple. How can it be right for a Labour-controlled local authority to heavily subsidise – with taxpayers’ money – a rally against the Conservative-led Government? 

Last year it was called off because the Trots didn’t fancy getting wet so I expect they will be chomping at the bit this time round to peddle their propaganda in the park and to the adjoining streets – I’m surprised the council hasn’t started erecting loudspeakers down my street. No wonder people call Suffolk’s county town the People’s Socialist Republic of Ipswich – state-funded events like these sound like Ipswich is trapped in the USSR in the 1980s. Well, have you seen some of the hairstyles and clothes of those attending today?


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BREAKING: UKIP win a seat on Suffolk County Council

Ben Gummer position is precarious

Ben Gummer’s position is precarious

Ukip have exceeded even my expectations and have not just taken a huge chunk of the voting share in Ipswich but have gone and won a seat in the Whitton and Whitehouse Division on Suffolk County Council.

Although Whitton and Whitehouse is not in Ipswich MP Ben Gummer’s constituency, the trend across his own parliamentary seat has seen UKIP push the Tories into third place in many of the thirteen County seats.

The UKIP surge should worry Mr Gummer greatly – but I really doubt he gets the seriousness of what is happening. Just as the upper class in the Cabinet can’t seem to get far enough out of their ivory towers to smell the ordinary man on the street, some backbench MPs, like Mr Gummer, also find it terribly difficult to understand regular people too. This then leads to a tyranny of complacency and electoral results we have seen today.

As several commentators have pointed out, there is no point the Conservative Party, with the Liberal Democrats joined at the hip, trying to run the country like a version of New Labour. The country is economically on its knees, the party is over and the mega-state New Labour created, firmly placed in the bosom of the EU, and the new moral code (basically do anything you like, marry your dog, why not? kind of attitude) is being rejected by 1 in 4 of the electorate, and add in the Conservatives who currently remain loyal and millions upon millions of people are fed up with the mainstream parties and metropolitan elite in Westminster.

These results are historic.

More analysis to follow…


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UKIP romps through Ipswich pushing Tories into third place

Polling High: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

Polling High: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

Initial results from the Suffolk County Council elections in Ipswich have seen the Conservative candidate relegated to third place in every division apart from  Bixley, where UKIP did not stand, and in Rushmere, where high-profile Conservative Judy Terry has lost her seat by nearly 500 votes. UKIP polled 401 votes in  Rushmere.

UKIP have clearly taken votes from many disaffected Tories, reflecting their national results, where 1 in 4 people have voted UKIP in these local elections.

In the parliamentary by-election in South Shields, UKIP also pushed the Tory candidate into third place, with Labour holding on to the seat, formerly occupied by David Miliband.

More results and analysis to follow…


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NHS complacency has killed people and continues to harm

Thousands needlessly died but NHS won't learn

Thousands needlessly died but NHS won’t learn

My wife has been unwell for three weeks now, stricken  by a bad case of the flu and followed up by a throat infection.

One of the doctors, who my wife has never seen before, that congregate in our super-clinic, which was once called a GP surgery, saw her on Thursday and provided some antibiotics. Sounds all well and good until you scratch below the surface.

Firstly, they were the wrong type of antibiotic for throat infections and secondly the dosage was far too small (ironic when you read on below).

So we called the out-of-hours GP service, contracted out to Harmoni* on Saturday morning. We were instructed to go up to Ipswich Hospital to see the doctor. We were seen by a GP who lolled around the clinic like a petulant teenager, not making eye contact, and making it patently clear they wished they were tucked up at home with boyfriend and some Bollinger rather than doing her job.

This contemptuous attitude was just the start of our NHS “experience”. The GP made my wife feel it was her problem the super-clinic GP had prescribed the wrong medication on Thursday and then when my wife told the doctor she was allergic to penicillin, the doctor thought it wise to interrogate her as to “what actually happens when you take penicillin?”. Err, not a lot of good happens, doctor!

And then the NHS really showed their incompetence when they prescribed my wife one hundred antibiotics to last a whopping 25 days course. This was clearly an error by the doctor, which if my wife hadn’t spotted it, could have led to over dosage and significant harm. The pharmacist was shocked but only after my wife did a 180 about turn when she realised what she had just been dispensed. People of my generation question authority but an elderly pensioner is likely to think “if doctor says so, it must be right” and would have proceeded to swallow 100 antibiotics over a month rather than the much smaller does over usually one week, potentially leading to significant harm.

No wonder many antibiotics are now resistant to bacteria when you have incompetent doctors like the stroppy girl on Saturday making out the prescriptions.

I complained – naturally – via Twitter and although Ipswich Hospital is not responsible for the work of Harmoni I included them in my tweet, as we were on Ipswich Hospital property during our visit to the out-of-hours doctor. And I believe Ipswich Hospital have a responsibility as a core member of the NHS.

To be fair to Dr David Hartin, the Emergency Care Lead Clinician Lead and Twitterer-in-Chief at Ipswich Hospital, he showed compassion for my wife and directed us to where we could complain about Harmoni’s poor performance. I can’t fault his service but the wider NHS, in my view, is institutionally uncaring (to the point of killing patients) and in vast swathes of the service it is incompetent.

The response by the mainstream political parties to the NHS scandal at Stafford Hospital, where 3,000 patients needlessly died at the hands of nurses and doctors was a disgrace. Sir David Nicholson, who was promoted to head the entire NHS despite being in charge of Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust at the time of the killing fields, is still in post. He even went to Parliament and lied misled MPs when he said Gary Walker, former head of United Lincolnshire NHS Trust, had not identified himself as a whistleblower when he raised patient safety concerns to Nicholson in a 2009 letter to him.

David Cameron refuses to place the spotlight on Andy Burham who was the Labour Health Secretary at the time of the deaths. The culture of “I don’t do blame” has infested itself so much in the public sector and Government that when elderly people are starved to death by NHS nurses, the response from our Prime Minister is akin to “nothing to see here, move along”.

Well, I for one will never bury my head in the sand and will make sure people realise what a dangerous institution the NHS is: it holds a mirror up to the failed Communist regimes of the fallen Soviet Union and is just as flawed. The quicker we break it up and bring in a Netherlands-style health service the better for everyone’s health.

This veneration of the NHS by politicians, hoodwinked members of the public, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury must stop.

UPDATE: A fellow blogger in the Ipswich Spy parish alerted me to this sad story published last year in the Morning Ipswich Star where a blind pensioner from Felixstowe was handed the wrong prescription at a branch of Boots pharmacy. The man subsequently died.

*Harmoni, in Suffolk, took over the out-of-hours GP service from Take Care Now who had the contract removed from them after one of their doctors, who could not speak English, killed a patient in 2008 with a Morphine overdose. Par for the course in the NHS. Just add that fatality on top of the thousands killed at Stafford Hospital (some through starvation) hey, Sir David Nicholson? It’s incredible one gets a knighthood in the UK for slaughtering the patients in your care!