Don’t let Labour Wreck the Economy

Since 2010, we’ve been getting Britain’s economy back on track: cutting the deficit, backing businesses, creating jobs.

Our plan is working. Britain’s economy is recovering. But Labour’s plans for more spending, more borrowing and more debt would wreck the progress the country has made – and mean chaos for the economy and higher taxes for hardworking families.

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Ben Gummer Ipswich Star Column 27th February, 2015

County Hall

I had a treat two weeks ago. Mark Hart of Barnes Construction took me on a tour of County Hall, where his company are putting the finishing touches to some very good affordable accommodation in St Andrew’s House, round the back.

Now, I remember the back of this building well. It provides one of the earliest memories of Ipswich for me, as I remember sitting in the car in the car park listening to story tapes whilst my father was inside having meetings with county councillors and officials. However imposing the front, it belies the scale of the building, which is only really one room and a corridor deep, with a particularly hideous early 1980s extension grafted onto the back. I remember studying the fake castellation out of the window from my bolster seat, willing my father to come back so we could go home.

That was not that long ago, really, but it might as well have been an age if you were to see the building now. It is long past derelict, almost to the point of falling down. Squatters, a fire and open roofs mean that there are large parts of the building where you cannot safely walk and even if you climb the ladder into the high up little clocktower on the corner of St Helen’s and Bond streets, you will see the broken faces and the absence of hands, which were long-since broken away.

What is also striking is just how poorly suited the building is for running a local authority, being all narrow corridors, steps up and steps down, small rooms and converted courts. That was the reason Bryony Rudkin, who was then Labour leader of Suffolk County Council, struck a deal to move the council to the recently vacated Endeavour House – an astute move that gave the county the modern accommodation it desperately required.

What has not gone well is the life of this building ever since. More important for what has happened there than how it looks, it provides an unhappy footnote in our nation’s history – the last public hanging in Suffolk and the place where Wallis Simpson was granted her divorce. You can feel the bad karma even now – with cells for the condemned in the bowels of the building, almost emanating their sad histories around what lies above.

I find it hard to love, as you will tell, but it is part of the fabric of the town and with some money, would provide the venue for some far happier occasions. For this is the plan of Suffolk County Council and the developer: by moving the county’s Register Office into the fine former council chamber, thereby creating a dignified and beautiful place to conduct civil marriage ceremonies. The entrance hall would in turn provide a more decorous space to register births and deaths, while the large rooms around would be good for hosting wedding receptions. The rest of the building, meanwhile, could be converted with some effort to good houses overlooking the courtyard where I sat, bored, thirty years ago.

This is not some pipe dream, as the transformation has already begun. St Andrew’s House has been transformed into extremely nice flats by Barnes on behalf of Iceni Homes – the top ones would command high prices were they sold as penthouse flats. It is another part of the town that is finding its renaissance, as – bit by bit – we put right the damage and dereliction done to the town over many decades.

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Viva 0%, long live 0%

Originally posted on Colin Noble's Blog:

0 percentLast Friday afternoon at Forest Heath District Council’s Full Council meeting we set the council tax rate rise for the coming budget year at 0% this comes on the back of 4 years of 0%, another remarkable achievement in these times of significant government grant cuts. At Forest Heath what is even more striking is that services have been maintained and in my Role as Chairman of the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Chairman I have seen, in many cases services have actually improved over the past 4 years.

Even the one Councillor who bizarrely voted against the reorganisation that has facilitated the savings to achieve this, voted in favour of the 0% Council Tax rise, which is equally bizarrely because he as a Parish Council Chairman, he has been behind some of the most massive Precept hikes that council has ever seen with it going up almost a third in the…

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Labour Screwing Residents of Bedfordshire

I know some think that Milton Keynes is like the result of a wheelie bin a cat knocked over but Labour want to turn it into a ruinous mess.

East Anglia’s Premier Political Blogger has been informed that a parking crisis is threatening to kill off business in Central Milton Keynes after Labour proposed to hike the cost of parking permits by 88% over the next two years.

Also in Bedfordshire the Labour Police and Crime commissioner wants to increase the police council tax precept by 15.85%

Same old Labour. Tax, spend, borrow, tax, spend, borrow.

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Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion

Pensioners, savers, people who buy duty free goods, people who pay cash to avoid VAT in the black economy and people who updated their will correctly are all tax dodgers. Should we penalise and imprison 55 million Britons because people don’t know the difference between legal avoidance and illegal evasion?

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Saudi Arabia: The Ultimate Human Rights Cesspit

The utterly repulsive regime of Saudi Arabia that sentenced blogger, Raif Badawi to 1,000 lashes are now talking about giving the blogger the death penalty.

The Independant reports here

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told The Independent in a series of messages that judges in Saudi Arabia’s criminal court want him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face a death sentence.

She said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Mr Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog.

In 2013, a judge threw out the charge of apostasy against the 31-year-old blogger after he assured the court that he was a Muslim. The evidence against him had included the fact that he pressed the “Like” button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians.

The news that the charge may now be re-examined will come as a bitter blow to Mr Badawi’s family and supporters, who had hoped that the international pressure over his case would prompt Saudi Arabia to reduce his sentence.

Also in the barbaric kingdom a Man is to be beheaded a after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe.

The Independent reports here

A man who posted a video online of himself ripping up a Koran and beating the shredded holy book with a shoe is to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for renouncing his Muslim faith.

The unnamed prisoner, in his 20s, was given the death sentence by the country’s Sharia courts for the offence of apostasy – abandoning Islam – the Saudi Gazette reported.

Deviation from the nation’s enforced Sunni faith is harshly punished, according to Human Rights Watch.

Public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is banned and anything deemed an insult to the faith can be treated as a crime.

The article also reports that in the human rights cesspit that is Saudi Arabia

Executions are often carried out by public beheading. That was the fate of a Burmese woman in May who was dragged through the streets of Mecca and killed in front of crowds of people in January

You can read more about that here.

The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it believed the sentence was warranted due to the severity of the crime.

The beheading is part of an alarming trend, which has seen the kingdom execute seven people in the first two weeks of this year. In 2014 the number of executions rose to 87, from 78 in 2013

The Amnesty International Report 2014/15 says

The government severely restricted freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and cracked down on dissent, arresting and imprisoning critics, including human rights defenders. Many received unfair trials before courts that failed to respect due process, including a special anti-terrorism court that handed down death sentences. New legislation effectively equated criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism. The authorities clamped down on online activism and intimidated activists and family members who reported human rights violations. Discrimination against the Shi’a minority remained entrenched; some Shi’a activists were sentenced to death and scores received lengthy prison terms. Torture of detainees was reportedly common; courts convicted defendants on the basis of torture-tainted “confessions” and sentenced others to flogging. Women faced discrimination in law and practice, and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence despite a new law criminalizing domestic violence. The authorities detained and summarily expelled thousands of foreign migrants, returning some to countries where they were at risk of serious human rights abuses. The authorities made extensive use of the death penalty and carried out dozens of public executions.

More about the abhorrent practices of the regime here.

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Labour’s Contempt Towards the Elderly

Ed MiliCluskey, the MP so useless that he was voted fourth most influential person in Doncaster by the Doncaster Free press here, is playing “Russian roulette” with people’s pensions in order to fund a cut in tuition fees to bribe students into voting Labour.

The Telegraph reports here

The Labour leader was accused of “financial illiteracy” by launching a multi-pronged attack on savings which could affect professionals saving £100 a week as well as long-serving nurses, teachers and firefighters.

Universities said the policy of cutting fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year could jeopardise the security of their long-term funding.

Mr Miliband’s policy, which has been three-and-a-half years in the making and subject to intense rows in the shadow cabinet over whether it would help the poorest, began to unravel within hours of being launched as the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that “high income graduates are the primary beneficiaries”.

Naturally Ed Miliband’s candidate for Ipswich supports Labour’s raid on pensions but tactically just talks about a cut in tuition fees on Ipswich Labour’s website to bribe young people into voting Labour.

The last Prime Minister to raid pensions was Gordon Brown and the pension raid helped wreck the British economy.

This proposed raid on pensions shows Labour’s contempt for the elderly. What it means is that students will have to work longer to get a pension. Under the Conservatives pensions will be protected.

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