Friday, 31 July 2009
There is some outstanding coverage of his life and career on the BBC website, including footage of his appearance at the 2007 BBC Sports Personality of The Year ceremony, which is extremely moving. I was 12 during Italia 90 and like many my age I remember vividly Bobby’s incredible grey suit and his jubilant jig around the dugout.
I also remember Bobby as not just a great manger, with a hugely successful career, but achieving all that he did in the game by maintaining his decency, his integrity and his good humour. He was in the truest sense of the word a “great” man; there are plenty of people in football who would do well to follow his magnificent example.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
I have a different take on the problem. I think blaming the professions and private schools misses the point. I believe blame lies in the failure of the state school system (which I went through) to equip so many school leavers with the education they need to get on. Having previously worked in large “professional firms” myself I do not believe they try to recruit identikit people; they are looking for people who can do the job, who often require high levels of academic achievement.
We should be focusing our attention on raising standards in state schools, improving careers advice so that students are aware of the opportunities open to them, and emphasising the importance of ambition, hard work and commitment. I do agree with Alan Milburn’s panel that more should be done to provide mentors, role models and work placements; but the key is raising standards, and instilling the message that with hard work and ambition, anything is possible.
Monday, 27 July 2009
“We are disgusted at the recent vandalism at Farnworth Church.
The damage done to gravestones and benches, which have great sentimental value to local people is disgraceful. We appeal to anyone with information about this to contact the local police and offer your help. As a community we must send out the strongest possible signal that this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable; that includes the families and friends of those responsible.
This sort of behaviour has to stop.”
Sunday, 26 July 2009
I would like to pay tribute to the work of Steve whose campaign called ‘Don't Walk Away’ is trying to raise awareness amongst teenagers of the dangers of alcohol and choking/hypothermia, and offering advice to them about the need to send for an ambulance and the importance of the recovery position.
Steve and colleagues are trying to tackle a national problem which in my view is symptomatic of our broken society. As with all of the problems we face as a nation there is something each of us can do to help; we can set an example to young people in relation to alcohol, we can be role models, we can not walk by on the other side of the road when we see youngsters in drunken difficulty, and crucially we can press policy makers to ensure that education is dramatically increased on the dangers of drinking at a young age, and excessive drinking at any age. As a nation, and as individuals, we have to do more.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
Politicians of all parties need to be frank about the difficulties and the dangers our troops are facing in Afghanistan. One is that they do not have enough helicopters. A key reason for this is the Government’s lack of forward planning because in 2004, when British troops were deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, they decided to cut the helicopter budget. This is now having a significant impact on the safety and security of our troops; a view expressed by a range of senior current and ex-military figures, including the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Guthrie.
Gordon Brown claims there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of helicopters, but at the same time, we have had a 100 per cent increase in the number of troops. What is it that stops Gordon Brown admitting when clear mistakes have been made? Why won’t he give a simple, honest answer to a simple, honest question?
The list of issues on which Labour is not being straight with the British people gets longer by the week; we deserve better.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
We need to be clear on the purpose of our mission in Afghanistan, and clear that we have given our troops the best chance of winning the fight with the minimum loss of casualties. On the latter issue, we must ensure that our troops have the right equipment for the job; including armoured vehicles and helicopters where necessary. Given their immense sacrifices in our name, we must not let our forces down by failing to protect them; that would be the ultimate betrayal.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
AS the public inquiry into the Mersey Gateway project drew to a close, Halton’s Tory Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Ben Jones reiterated his 100% support for the project.
In a submission to the Conservative Party’s Commission on Transport for the North, he said the bridge represents a huge development and regeneration opportunity. Mr Jones wrote: “The Mersey Gateway project is a vitally important transport and regeneration project for my constituency and the North West region.
“It’ll help alleviate traffic congestion, support local businesses to be more competitive, act as a catalyst for regeneration in the area, and create new jobs. This much-needed and long overdue development is welcomed by local people and those across the political spectrum.”
He added: “In my role as PPC for Halton, I spoke in favour of the project at the North West Area Conference in March 2009. I’ve have been campaigning on this important issue since my selection in November, working with others, including neighbouring PPCs and local councillors.”
Mr Jones urges the commission to support the Mersey Gateway project. “This is more than a bridge; it has the potential to be a catalyst that will connect communities and lead regeneration and investment throughout Halton and the North West. He continued: “I’ve followed the public inquiry proceedings closely and am looking forward to reading the outcome early next year. “In the meantime, my Conservative colleagues and I are continuing to press for a fair deal on tolls for all local residents and businesses.”
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
- A big, bold and simple National Loan Guarantee Scheme to help get credit flowing and save jobs.
- A two year Council Tax freeze, worth over £200 for the typical family.
- Tax breaks for companies which create new jobs, and cuts in National Insurance and Corporation Tax for all small companies.
- Up to £6,500 worth of energy efficiency improvements for every household, saving energy and reducing bills.
- Abolition of stamp duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers.
Gordon Brown believes that, before the credit crunch, the British economy was fundamentally strong, which is why he won't apologise or take any responsibility for what went wrong. He claimed he had ended boom and bust, but we are now facing one of the deepest recessions in the developed world and people in Halton are paying the price. If Gordon Brown can't admit his past mistakes then how can he offer a way out of our problems?
Conservatives understand that, under Labour, the economy was built on debt. We are offering a different plan for economic recovery, based on savings and ownership not borrowing and debt. We will build a new low-carbon, high-skilled, productive and balanced economy that will be the engine of sustainable growth, and we will reform the public finances and system of financial regulation so that no Labour Government is able to bankrupt us again.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
As citizens we are entitled to ask, does all this extra legislation make our country any better-governed? Has this legion of new laws solved the problems in our society? Has more government action been the answer?
Or is it more evidence of that New Labour trick of always wanting to be seen to be acting, or announcing or re-announcing a new policy or initiative, rather than actually doing something that will make a real difference to people up and down our country?
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Like Michael Shields, I was in Istanbul in May 2005 to watch Liverpool play AC Milan in the European Cup Final; I have followed his case with great interest. I hope Mr Straw can be persuaded to reconsider his position before making his final ruling on this case.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
“The Mersey Gateway project is a vitally important transport and regeneration project for my constituency and the North West region. It will help alleviate traffic congestion, support local businesses to be more competitive, act as a catalyst for regeneration throughout the area, and create new jobs. This much-needed and long over-due development is welcomed by local people and those across the political spectrum.
In my role as PPC for Halton, I spoke in favour of the project at the North West Area Conference in March 2009, and have been campaigning on this important issue since my selection in November 2008, working with other neighbouring PPCs and local councillors."
My recommendation to the commission was to "support the Mersey Gateway project. This is more than a bridge; it has the potential to be a catalyst that will connect communities and lead regeneration and investment throughout Halton and the North West.”
After 12 years of failure by this Labour Government, yesterday’s speech by Shadow Education Secretary, Michael Gove, gives those of us who care about education some real hope. He analysed the failure of the current system and presented some positive ideas for the future.
Below are some of the policies outlined:
- New powers for teachers to control violent behaviour.
- New powers for heads over pay and conditions which will break the grip of Unions.
- New powers for all state schools to do top quality international exams.
- More control of universities over exams, which will expose and reverse dumbing down and break the power of the QCA.
- Big shake-ups for all the quangos and the Whitehall structure.
- A genuine system of school choice with organisations and parents free to set up new schools (and radical changes to planning law and building regs to make this possible).
- Parents free to control the taxpayers' money spent on their child so they can switch it to one of the new charter schools, and radical freedoms for these schools outside the grip of the state.
The full text of his speech can be read by clicking here: http://conservativehome.blogs.com/files/090630-gove-speech-to-rsa.pdf