Saturday, 22 March 2008

Post Office closures

Earlier this week a long debate was held in the House of Commons regarding the programme to close over a thousand post offices countrywide. The Conservative motion to halt the programme of closures was defeated by just 20 votes. A number of Ministers campaigned publicly against the proposed closures in their constituencies and yet voted in favour of them in the Commons.

Stephen Ladyman voted against the Conservative motion while Roger Gale voted in favour.

Cameron cycling coverage

If ever any evidence was required to show the bias of the BBC in favour of the Government, yesterdays coverage of David Cameron being caught by the Daily Mirror riding his bike in the wrong way showed exactly that. They dragged a Labour MP, Stephen Pound, to the studio to discuss the expose and brought up the issue a number of times through the afternoon. Stephen Pound, a long time MP who has appeared in front of TV cameras a number of times, was happy to help drive the stake in.

While I understand the point made by those bringing this up, that lawmakers shouldn’t be law breakers, the BBC has gone overboard in its coverage of this pretty small story, when on more serious situations, such as Ruth Kelly MP, current Secretary for Transport, using Parliamentary allowances to fund partisan political campaign material last year the BBC mentioned it but went no further. Yes, Cameron should have been the first the realise the danger of being caught and this being given the importance it doesn’t deserve and shouldn’t have ridden his bike like that but the coverage is ridiculous. It took the coverage off the far more important stories of Ben Bradshaw having to defend the Government's Bill on embryo research and government quotes on large class sizes.

I say this having nearly been run down on Northdown Road (Harold Road) last week by some idiot driving a silver Mondeo who turned early and forgot to indicate, who could only defend themselves with a “Sorry, didn’t see you”. I wonder when the driver would have noticed…perhaps when I went through the car’s windscreen?

Saturday, 15 March 2008

More to be done

I have lived in Cliftonville for almost two years now and seen a lot of things while here, both good and bad. One thing which showed a thoroughly nasty side of Cliftonville was about two weeks ago.

At the door of the property at Northdown Road opposite Munro Cobb where the well publicised death occurred recently there had been half a dozen bunches of flowers as well as an Arsenal shirt. Two women went to the charity shop by the Albion Bookshop one evening (about 9pm) and after grabbing a boxful of goods laying outside the shop, crossed the road and collected an armful of flowers from the memorial site then wandered on up Northdown Road towards Margate.

Cliftonville may have many people who have problems but the story of the death had been all around the area and it would suprize me a lot of they weren’t aware of what the purpose of the flowers were. Its disheartening to see things like that when you’d think people had more sense and respect than that.


On Thursday, as part of media coverage of the Conservative Spring Forum, David Cameron and his family had breakfast with the ITV cameras filming away. This isn’t the first time the media has been given such access as Cameron has done videos of him doing some household chores for his website WebCameron as well as allowing journalists to follow him on his visits to the local church. He justifies it through the argument that the public should know what makes politicians tick. But surely this goes against his previous assertions that he is entitled to a private life? He is perfectly happy to allow the media heavy access to him and his family when it suits him, but doesn’t like it when the media is asking questions about his time at University. When the children grow up, will they be satisfied that they have the protection from the media that they would like, or will they be stuck with Cameron’s decision made on their behalf that its alright for them to be splashed over the media to flesh out his family guy credential? They didn’t get the choice yet they may well be stuck with it anyway.

Of course it’s his call, but anyone who considers a career in politics needs to consider carefully the impact the media will have on them and their family. Politics is a cut throat business at times and there are people around who don’t care much for ethics and will hurt the budding politician through their family (not speaking from personal experience but there are countless examples of this). The concern is that now Cameron has given the indication of full access to the press this will now become an expectation rather than a one off. His attempt to attract attention at an otherwise non-newsworthy Party event could well lead to him being held to ransom.