Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boris to poison children with ID cards

Calm down, it's symbolic already! I share his views on the viability of ID cards but diverge slightly on his choice of cereal toppings. Watch and enjoy.

Drop the Dead Donkey Gordon.

Yesterday Gordon Brown doubled the tax rate of the poorest to pay for a tax cut for everyone else. He increased the tax burden on the small businesses that make up the majority of companies and employ much of the population in order to cut corporation tax for the biggest City firms. It's worth looking back to Gordon's formative years growing up in the country.
Young Gordon bought a donkey from an old farmer for £100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day, but when the farmer drove up he said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news... the donkey is on my truck, but unfortunately he's dead." Gordon replied, "Well then, just give me my money back." The farmer said, "I can't do that, because I've spent it already." Gordon said, "OK then, well just unload the donkey anyway." The farmer asked, "What are you going to do with him?" Gordon answered, "I'm going to raffle him off," to which the farmer exclaimed, "Surely you can't raffle off a dead donkey!" But Gordon, with a wicked smile on his face said, "Of course I can, I just won't bother to tell anybody that he's dead."

A month later the farmer met up with Gordon and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?" Gordon said, "I raffled him off, sold 500 tickets at two pounds a piece, and made a huge, fat profit!!" Totally amazed, the farmer asked, "Didn't anyone complain that you had stolen their money because you lied about the donkey being dead?" Gordon replied, "The only guy who found out about the donkey being dead was the raffle winner when he came to claim his prize. So I gave him his £2 raffle ticket money back plus an extra £200, which as you know is double the going rate for a donkey, so he thought I was a great guy!"

Gordon grew up and eventually became the Chancellor of the Exchequer,and no matter how many times he spun the truth, or how much money he stole from the British voters, as long as he gave them back some of the stolen money, many of them, unfortunately, still thought he was a great guy.

The moral of this story is that, if you think Gordon is playing fair and doing something for the everyday people of the country for once in his life, think again, because you'll be better off flogging a dead donkey.

Scully gets a promotion

Last Monday, I became Conservative Group Leader on Sutton Council and Tony Shields was elected Deputy Leader. I'm grateful for the trust that my colleagues have put in me and know that it'll be a steep learning curve having only been on the Council for 10 months.

I have met with colleagues and officers of the council and will continue to do so over the coming few days, but of course, I am most keen to speak with as many residents as possible. It is you who look to us to put your views across and it is you who will judge us on our performance. I am confident that with the talented group of councillors that we have in the Conservative group, we will be able to build on our success, taking the ruling LibDems to task, detailing the areas where we feel improvements can be made and ultimately taking control in 2010 to implement these changes and acheive better services at a realistic cost to all of us.

Brussels out of step with its tenants

I went to Brussels last weekend with my friend Andy, staying in a hotel just yards (not metres, obviously!) from this building, the Barlaymont, home to the European Commission until it was found to be riddled with asbestos.

Anyway, Andy has an electric wheelchair which is far too heavy to lift. The hotel had a step up to the entrance and could not supply a ramp. Neither Andy or I are precious about access rights (it's all swings and roundabouts since the only wheelchair spaces in Eurotunnel are in first class) but the irony was not lost that despite the fact that we were in the shadow of the building that pumps out oppresive regulation for the whole of Europe, the Belgians ignored them.

We borrowed a couple of planks of wood to make an extra step. The following day the Eurotunnel was cancelled for 24 hours and so they had to put us up in a Hotel Ibis. This was not as salubrious as the first hotel but was easy to access, the rooms were big with an accessible bathroom. So, they'll get any future business. You can regulate to your heart's content. It only builds up resentment and the free market will win through in the end.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Outdoor Drinking plans at Butterchurn rejected

Plans to install an awning and outdoor heaters at the Butterchurn pub were overwhelmingly turned down at the Council Development Control Committee.

I addressed the committee, joining residents in condemning the proposal. He explained to the committee some of the long-running problems of noise and anti-social behaviour that might increase should the plans be approved.

The Butterchurn has joined other pubs in looking for a workaround to the smoking ban due to start in the summer. The awning would have enabled more people to stay outside the pub with the heaters allowing noise to disturb neighbours beyond the warm summer months.

The permanent outdoor heaters do not fit in with Sutton’s cleaner, greener image but amazingly, Sutton does not have a planning policy to cover this.

The Safer Neighbourhood Police Team have had to devote a lot of time and resources to the problems surrounding the establishment. Whilst the management of the pub is still so transient, it is not appropriate to make changes that may make the situation worse. Eric and Paul are pleased that the majority of the committee agreed with the residents that felt strongly enough to come to the committee meeting and voted against the application. The options available to the Butterchurn are to appeal against the decision, submit a new altered application or scrap the whole idea.

Ruskin Road Update

At last week’s Carshalton Forum, we received confirmation that the yellow lines from the junction of Ruskin Road and Park Hill would be extended right up to Rotherfield Road.

This follows representations from Eric Howell that the traffic was unable to flow properly because of the number of vans and cars parked on the north side of Ruskin Road.

Although we were told at a previous meeting that no progress had been made on redeveloping the house on this junction as it was linked to the Durand Close redevelopment project, Paul is hopeful that news might now be forthcoming. The planning application for the main Durand Close rebuild was approved by the Development Committee so we hope that 79-97 Ruskin Road will follow quickly.

Anyone for Tennis?

Eric in his role as Conservative spokesman for sport has helped direct £36,000 of funding to repair the tennis courts in Carshalton Park including the installation of metal nets to avoid further vandalism. You may have noticed that the courts have been resurfaced and marked out.

He has been promised that we will be able to use them by Easter. Better still, they'll be free to use. As you can see from the photo taken a couple of years ago, the machine took some punishment and proved to be cost more to maintain than it collected. With Sutton amongst the worst Boroughs in London for children participating in sports it is only a shame that it took some mindless vandalism to make this sensible move.

20mph Zone Virtually There

Work is finally getting underway on the long awaited 20mph zone in West Street. Construction was due to start on 26th February to build virtual traffic calming.

This isn’t quite as space-age as it might sound at first. You may remember that this proposal has been knocking around for some years but was fraught with problems. The narrow pavements and the shallow foundations of the buildings along the road prevented the use of speed humps so another solution was sought.

Three sets of speed cushions will be placed along the northern part of West Street starting just before the Colston Avenue roundabout and a flat-topped hump will be positioned near the Water Tower.

Four “virtual” flat-topped humps will be positioned at the entrances to Carshalton Station, Sycamore Close, West Street Lane and Old Swan Yard. Lines and markings will be painted on the road to give the impression to a speeding motorist that they are approaching a speed hump. The idea is that it slows down traffic without the associated vibrations and noise that come from normal speed humps. Signs including speed-activated digital signs will show the beginning and end of the zone.

Eric and Paul welcome the innovation in the scheme. The Council so often look to speed humps as their first and only choice. This scheme may or may not work but a little more imagination can help protect our Borough from the overzealous use of speed humps whilst still making our roads safer.

What do you think? When the system starts, do let us know if it has had any effect on the speed of the traffic. Leave a comment below or you can write to Paul and Eric at London Borough of Sutton, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Will wearing a Red Nose in Westminster be illegal?

Click here to find out how to avoid arrest on Red Nose Day

Tim Ireland certainly think so. This is the first Red Nose Day since the introduction of the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 which made demonstrations in designated areas illegal without prioir police permission. I'm no lawyer but despite the speculation, I'm not holding my breath waiting for a spate of arrests next week.

Nonetheless it does highlight the crazy knee-jerk reactive laws that we get from this Government. Cast your mind back to the build up to this law getting through Parliament. Brian Haw has been a permanent fixture in Parliament Square demonstrating against the invasion of Iraq for the past five and a half years. This law was railroaded to clear him and his banners from opposite Parliament thus sparing Tony Blair's blushes on the rare occasion that he visited the House.

Unfortunately for the government, since the demonstration predated the implementation of the law, the courts ruled that it could not be applied retrospectively. Basically, this meant that the only person in the entire United Kingdom that this law did not apply to was...yes, you've guessed, Brian Haw.