Stuck in the middle with you

27 February, 2009

“we’re middle Englanders, that middle band of people who work really hard and make sure their Bupa’s paid and their school fees are paid and all those sorts of things. We have 102 acres of parkland to look after.” Anthea Turner

So “middle england” is the small subsection of the population that pay to have a fax machine in their hospital room as they queue jump. Who buy their kids the best universities and jobs like their predecessors brought commissions in the army and whose back garden was the subject of the recent publication Gloucestershire – a pictorial guide. That’s not any kind of middle that I recognise.

I think it’s important that people do have freedom of religion but it’s also important that those of us who want it can have freedom from religion. One of the absurdities of the poor subsitute of precedent and convention that we have for the British Constitution is that there is an “established” religion with representatives in Parliament as of right rather than merit or even election.

Those of us who argue personal morality should be a private matter and who’s shagging who isn’t of public importance tend to forget about Henry VIII. His desire to quench his desire as it were gave us the Church of England, perhaps a devine use of kingly power but surely not devine intervention.

But several centuries later with an established church challenged both by a plethora of althernative Christian denominations and a host of other religions. Each of course proclaiming their’s as the one true faith. The real question however is at what point should the established religion be ditched because its followers can be fitted in the back of a London cab? As this article in the Telegraph indicates even on the Church of England’s big Christmas festival it can only get les than 1 in 20 through its doors as for regular weekly attenders less than 1 in 60! Perhaps that point has already been reached.

Proud but not satisfied

9 February, 2009

If memory serves me correctly the above title is/was the slogan of the Swedish Social Democrats but I’m co-opting it after I (yes little’ol me) have got Boris into a bit of a tizzy. As you can see here and here. Thanks Dave and Adam.That’s the Proud bit.

As for the not satisfied: I got Boris to give a grovelling defence of his actions which was down to your friend and mine the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It’s a vital tool in holding government to account and is open for anyone to use. Yes this means YOU too. So after you’ve spent oooou I don’t know a good ten minutes reading up about freedom of information find this website and start asking awkward questions.

I don’t view this as a party political point. This is about the relationship between the Government and those that it governs. I may ask Boris awkward questions but if there are Tories out there who want to ask awkward questions of Labour politicians or people of no party who are interested in their local health service or library or whatever I would say get to it.

The more people with power are thinking those without it are looking over their shoulder the better they will excercise that power. That would be better for everyone. So start asking NOW!

Also on Twitter as Tweet4Labour

As Mayor of London your obliged by the law to conduct a People’s Question Time twice annually. Boris pledged to do more of them in his campaign but when in power changed the rules so the extras are now question time lite and he doesn’t have to invite opposition assembly members to them. After all they would just be a pesky nuisance to the Boris road show.

Anyway I thought I should question this when he held his latest meeting this time about the development of the third runway. Notice that instead of an open forum where you can question him about the more insane of his policies like an airport in the middle of bird strike central he gets to choose the parameters of debate.

So I sent a Freedom of Information request in using the ideal website for the purpose which you can see here along with the response. It turns out his roadshow is costing 17K a pop. I know this is about 3 Telegraph columns to Boris but it’s serious money to ordinary people. Now I don’t want to fall in the Taxpayer Alliance trap of all public expenditure bad but what’s so wrong about Boris getting on a box in speakers corner every Friday for an hour. Lets make him really accessible to the public and at a price that’s right. It’d be a national institution.

Furthermore having Zac Goldsmith on the platform as a Tory PPC at a meeting which is directly relevant to the Richmond Park constituency in which he is standing is bang out of order especially as they didn’t invite Susan Kramer his opponent who is also interested in this issue and is the Lib Dem lead on it. Still they all got a taxi home although it says all you need to know what Boris thinks of London transport when he spends £1000 on taxi’s for one meeting.

Also now on Twitter as Tweet4Labour

London Cancelled

2 February, 2009

Boris on the Bus

Boris on the Bus

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