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John Ward
Medway in Kent, England
Interests: Photography, humour, politics, science fact and fiction, walking
Recent Activity
The existing Local Strategic partnerships have (I beieve: I know of only our one here in any great depth) been generally successful and useful, despite their faults. Some (like ours) added panels (a.k.a. boards) when they became the right/better way to go, and here that was some years down the road. If this new idea is to supplant those and presumably update and ehance them, then it should be able to be beneficial. We don't need a duplication of this joint working activity by councils and their partners. As with all such things, when allowed to, it should learn and adapt along the way, so we'll probably need to give the new Boards a couple of years to fully take shape before being able to judge their merits and demerits. Of course, we can keep a weather eye on 'em in the meantime...
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This is true proportional: seats allocated according to the nationwide vote for each party (or equivalent body in some cases, perhaps) not a "transferable vote" fudge. All those millions of votes would be counted as single blocks. It means party lists and no constituencies for MPs, but that is appropriate to this model.
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Perhaps My idea for a new parliamentary model might ensure that all aspects of what is currently an MP's activities are serviced appropriately. This comprises just 300 "law-making" MPs and 600 part-time (but with regular hours!) constituency representatives, plus a mechanism that allows the two groups to communicate effectively (using modern technologies as part of the design, rather than a recent add-on). Note the different electoral methodologies: true PR for the MPs, FPTP for the constituency reps. Should keep just about everyone happy & ensure all the work is done without one aspect being able to be blamed for lack of the other!
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Just an example of the seating layout matter I mentioned above: Hammond is to Dimbleby's immediate right, so he can be (and was) frequently interrupted by David D, and also best arrangement when he springs the ambush. It's just one of the meticulously-planned aspects of the programme that, to a trained observer, tells a whole story...
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Yes, "Honesty" just beat me to it. The odd number of panellists ensures a slant, on the assumption that no-one on a political debating programme can be considered entirely neutral. As a regular participant on the multi-site hosted Question Time LiveChat, I can vouch for this regular occurrence. Once a season, presumably to avoid sustainable complaints to an independent body, the 'bias' is to the right, but the rest of the time it is at least three Lefties every week, plus Dimbleby himself, of course. The audience is almost entirely public sector workers, bussed-in in quantity I gather, with special seats at the front reserved for known activists. The questions are carefully selected by the BBC production people, Dimbleby steers, interrupts, cuts off and otherwise quite obviously manipulates the debates, and notice too how he always calls certain members of the audience at least twice, on different questions, while ignoring dozens of other raised hands. It's all carefully orchestrated, from the panel's seating arrangement to the obvious "ambush" that is frequently set up for any Coalition member on the panel. It's all very well documented on the Biased-BBC site, in this thread, and once upon a document was more forensically and statistically recorded at the now-defunct BeebBiasCraig 'blog. Last night's might have been one of the worst, but there aren't any good, decent, honest or unbiased Question Times. They don't exist, and the BBC makes absolutely certain of that.
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Just for information: a slightly more recent ComRes poll for The Independent on 1 June produced almost identical voting intention figures for the big 3 parties - Con 37%, Lab 37%, LibDem 12%. Therefore this isn't a brand new situation; though one good and one poor performance and two good-sounding (if hard to believe as Labour's true policy thinking) speeches since then might have been expected to generate a modest improvement.
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Thank you for the kind mention. I do hope those posts, all readable via this label search, are of interest and value to others following the Medway elections. I put a lot of careful thought and "intell" into them, so they should turn out to be not all that far off the mark...though we shall see!
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Perhaps something simple along these lines might help, as part fo such an approach.
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Yup: here at Medway the Conservative-led (dare I use that term?) Council has for years had to cope with unfair settlements in an era of Labour-imposed bureaucracy and nonsense. Of course they (and other councils) should never have been put in a position where they had to suddenly make such severe spending reductions (although the principle is a good one) but their track record over the past decade shows that they are one of those exceptional administrations that can perform near-miracles with budgets. I know: I was part of it for eight of those years, and know it from the inside! So, well done to Councillor Jarrett and his colleagues, and the lean-but-mean team of officials under him!
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I am pleased that one of our Medway-area new MPs has put his cross-cultural knowledge and experience to good use in pursuing this matter, of which his above questions will be only an early part. Well done Rehman Chishti (and Fiona Bruce) and I hope that some good can come out of this rather predictable but still nasty situation, which will no doubt worsen with time.
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Yes, it had exactly the same effect on me. I now wish I were on Boris's official card list...
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Yes, it had exactly the same effect on me. I now wish I were on Boris's official card list...
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That is a shame. I worked in Croydon some years ago, in the Immigration Dept. Apart from the wind tunnel that was/is the Whitgift Centre, it was generally an OK place, though with not a lot of character. Local Authorities really do need to think long and hard about major changes and investments. I do not wish to stifle creative thinking; but the worst thing a council can do is to set its local population against any future significant changes by severely botching one and alienating public opinion.
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Ah, SCOLA! I have spent many evenings in the basement there, some years ago, as the main recording engineer for Sutton Talking Newspaper, right from its inception at the end of 1974... I know it and the area quite well!
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Still doesn;t get it... Fortunately, nearly everyone else does!
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That is the correct outlook. The problem is what is getting in the way of successful trading, and it sure isn't a previous lack of wooden fish! This out-of-touch and incompetent approach is what is making an already bad situation (owing to the previous national government's policies) even worse and seemingly never-ending. A sensible and businesslike approach is what is needed, but you'll never get that from a Lib Dem administration operating in isolation from anyone who actually understands how things work.
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I have covered this on my own 'blog, linked to in another comment in this discussion. I am well aware of the Cardiff business, so lauded by the makers of Torchwood for example. The reality behind that is not as black-and-white as some might like to imagine; and I certainly wouldn't hold it up as any kind of success, despite the disproportionate amounts spent on it (while other areas went without).
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There's nothing boring about being sensible regarding spending other people's money. SOme of us have a good, proper attitude to the subject. I could easily quote numerous examples of both outlooks regarding town centre embellishments to illustrate this; but have settled on just these wooden fish in Sutton (on one side) and something in my own area (on the other side) to make a few points. I could easily add more if needed...
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That is a ridiculous idea; and why do they cost so much? It gives the impression the council has been conned. Yes, of course we need to keep our town centres attractive, but we do it when we have some money to spare and keep it modest. Around here we wouldn't clutter the area as there are always better uses for space that taking them out of service or making them trip etc hazard-filled places. Eleted members must never forget whom they are there to serve, and it isn't their own fads or similar: it is to introduce what their local populace would regard as being a Good Thing and worth having, and these wooden fish in Sutton High Street aren't what most Council Tax-payers and voters in council elections would regard as A Good Thing. I've known Sutton High Street for decades, and I cannot perceive any benefit to the place or to the community offered by these wooden fish. Indeed, the place didn't need anything of this kind anyway, and certainly not costing a seven-figure sum!
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Well, that is another point again, and certainly valid. The Pickles initiatives should help turn that formerly worsening situation around during the next months and years.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on In a fix? at CentreRight
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Well, strictly speaking, not everything else is four. Many councils operated on a three-year all-out election cycle and some (I think) still do. Those electing "by thirds" have their own timetable again. However, everything else (near enough) is fixed term, which for those here challenging the whole idea is a question for them to answer why it's fine for locals, Assemblies and the rest. I do not believe any opponent of fixed term Parliaments has ever objected to those other fixed term stipulations. I am content to let the first fixed term Parliament be five years under the present dire circumstances, but for the period to be reviewed after that term and the following election, as the country will hopefully be far nearer normality by then.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on In a fix? at CentreRight
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Saturday might make sense; but why not have GE and locals on the same day? It improves turnout at the locals significantly, which surely has to be a good thing for local democracy. I have been trying to think of any reason not to synchronise, but cannot find anything of significance.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on In a fix? at CentreRight
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I believe both of you are on the right lines. Perhaps the best way to treat it is as an initial trial of five years, which as has been said will help in the current circumstances as they will probably play out over the next half-decade. After that, it should be reviewed in the light of experience to see whether the number of years should be changed for the (then) future. Whatever is deduced could then be put to Parliament as an amending Bill.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on In a fix? at CentreRight
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I believe so; and a lot of voters will be away over the Bank Holiday weekend. Some will have postal votes, a few will have proxies; but it is likely to reduce turnout having it on such a day anyway. Saturdays, as have been suggested in this thread, make more sense; though even there a lot of folk treat Saturday as their day away from formal activity. Around these parts, many go to a huge shopping complex most Saturdays, and spend the whole day there (I know from canvassing efforts, and the noticeable absence of cars). It's not my kind of lifestyle, but there you go...
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on In a fix? at CentreRight
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