Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A249 Killer Road campaign

I would like to encourage everyone to join Rachel Rook's Facebook group and sign her petition regarding the A249 in Kent.

The A249 runs from Maidstone up to Sheerness, crossing the M2 and M20, and contains sections whereby lorry drivers can do illegal U-turns which are highly dangerous to other road users. Sadly Rachel's father was killed as a result of such an action and she has set up a campaign to get Kent County Council to close these sections to avoid other accidents. There have been at least a dozen other accidents caused by U-turns on the road, not to mention any near misses.

Kent County Council (predictably Tory-controlled) have said that (i) they could put roundabouts on the road (ii) but they won't because they are too expensive. Now they can't decide where to put them. In the meantime, nothing is happening, not even any examination of other options.

Rachel's campaign has 1,323 members on her Facebook group 'A249 Killer Road' and has a petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/A249/.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Borden and Upchurch

The campaign trail took me to Borden on Friday evening. Canvassing is a new experience, but after some shadowing, off I went. Many people out (as one should be on a Friday evening) and quite a few ‘haven’t decided yet’ – with one ‘what election?’. And one small dog who found the Focus leaflet delicious.

One lady was quite ferocious. ‘I will vote for you if you can get that Scottish idiot out of Number 10. And that daft woman – we are paying for her husband to watch filthy videos’ and much more along the same line. I never got round to finding out if she will vote for us. Overall though the evening was quite fun so hope to do some more soon.

Saturday morning and yet another small Kent village – Upchurch, not far from Rainham – a village which appears out of nowhere as you drive down country lanes. Lot of big houses with a few problems in finding the front door. Very quiet and sunny day but some more exercise before a pint at The Crown. Thirsty work, this leafleting.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Walking in Borden, Kent

This weekend my delivering took me to Borden, an attractive little village not far from Sittingbourne in Kent. The village is centred around a large church next to a nice pub called The Maypole – which is very popular at Sunday lunch.

Borden is full of quiet, leafy roads with fields and houses wide apart. This last point makes it difficult for delivering leaflets as once you have come to a house it’s then quite a walk to get up to the front door. But it’s all good exercise.

The people we met walking around were friendly and receptive, all saying good morning, and even a large Alsatian that came bounding towards me was, I was assured, ‘soft as a kitten’. (I wasn’t worried, of course). And in keeping with the season I was glad to see one house flying a large flag of St George on their flag pole.

A few hours leafleting, a lot of walking, and a pint back at the Maypole. And hopefully a vote or two. Not a bad days’ work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Storm" has arrived

Today Vince Cable’s book The Storm landed on my doormat. I decided to buy it although this is a challenge for both Vince and myself – as economics is definitely not my thing. I still don’t quite understand how spending £500 billion is saving the world. And I once had to drop out of Economics A-level classes when I simply did not have a clue what was going on.

As Chancellor in the last recession, Norman Lamont said that unemployment was ‘a price worth paying’ to keep inflation down. I was unemployed at the time. Was I being told that my regular collection of dole was patriotically helping out the economy? I remember thinking that if all the unemployed had got jobs, would that have sent inflation up and upset the Chancellor? So you can see that my economic knowledge was a bit basic.

The book has received good reviews, looks a good size and hopefully uses plain English so will let you know how I get on. Anyone out there read it and got some views?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday morning in Newington

A pleasant few hours were spent this morning delivering leaflets around the beautiful little Kent village of Newington - as part of our county council election campaign. The weather was sunny, the houses were nice, and it became a pleasurable stroll.

One lady opened her door as I approached.
'What's this?' she said with suspicion.
'A Focus and a newspaper asking you about local issues' said I cheerfully, 'from the Lib Dems.'
'Oh,' she said brightening up. 'We don't get that from the other parties.'
I may have got us a vote there.

We're fortunate in Kent to have many such small villages and leaflet delivering gives you the perfect excuse to explore.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Political Heavyweights

Who said this: 'Although recent events in the Channel have not necessarily been to our advantage, the country can be assured that, under this administration, any form of hostile force will be met with resistance at the earliest opportunity'. Answer at the end.

I've been thinking about political heavyweights - people with stature and respect across the political spectrum. In the 60s and 70s there were Rab Butler, Enoch Powell, Willie Whitelaw, Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins - and you can add the party leaders Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and, yes, Mrs Thatcher.

But who are the big guys today? Gordon Brown is a giant on a front bench of pygmies - and he'll be gone soon - the Tories could make a case for Ken Clarke - and of course we have our own Vince Cable - but that's about it!

On the other hand, do we want the heavyweights today? The political spotlight means we now favour young photogenic politicians with the right image, rather than establishment types. Would the Tories today choose the Edwardian Macmillan over the young family man Cameron? Would Labour have opted for the reformist Attlee over the bright young thing Blair?

So my conclusion is that we are to blame. We like our politicians to be young, trendy and fashionable in the dumbed down age of Big Brother and The X-Factor. Image and presentation is more important than policy. What would a 21st century spin doctor make of Winston Churchill's grand speeches and expressions?

Which brings me back to the quote - yes, it was Churchill. He actually said 'we shall fight them on the beaches' but I have updated it for a 2009 audience.