Bloody love my Eric…

Following the lovely Eric Pickles’ recent announcement regarding broadcasting and recording council meetings, Tim & I decided to be the first members of the public to do just that. A few weeks ago we recorded our first meeting and repeated the experience last week at a full council meeting at Chicksands, Shefford.  The agenda item we were most keen to broadcast was a proposal that the council should record and broadcast their own meetings – this policy would serve two purposes, it would enable the public to better connect with them and also give them some protection when/if their decisions or discussions were questioned. The vote was unanimously in favour of going ahead with the plan and so we should be able to watch future meetings online very soon.

As a Labour member, I must admit to feeling a little outnumbered in the chamber – Central Bedfordshire Council is extremely conservative in its make-up. HOWEVER, the staff and Councillors were all exceptionally welcoming and bent over backwards to provide us everything we needed for both historical, successful events.  After the meeting several Councillors came over to meet us and talk about the experience and without exception, they were very happy with how it went.

The meeting itself was a pleasure to be at, local politics is as fascinating as is national – the topics discussed included the Luton/Dunstable Busway (which has proved to be a massive success), Council Tax charges and what help (not very much) is being provided for the thousands of residents who are currently in arrears, a proposed Gypsy & Traveller site and a few other topics. At the end came questions from the “opposition” – the non-Tory Councillors. This was wonderful to watch, like a watered-down PMQs but without all the silly jibes/heckling that takes place every Wednesday in Parliament! Questions were actually answered and as a result, progress was made. John Bercow has done a great job as Speaker but there is still so much to do in this regard. One of my earliest blogposts ( Muppet MPs ) was on this subject and very little seems to have changed since.

We hope to be live-tweeting as well as broadcasting future council meetings so, if you’re as mad about politics as we are – watch this space–>> http://www.ustream.tv/channel/flitwick  (View it through IE not Chrome to get the volume, yes I know its nuts!)

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David Cameron’s Full Support..

David Cameron's Full Support..

David Cameron’s Cap… #wrb

Image

Following today’s bullying over-rule of The Lords’ amendments to the much feared Welfare Reform Bill, it seems that David Cameron has indeed got his new cap…

TwitwatchUK – Week Three (24th Jan)

Welcome to this week’s TwitWatch UK..  as usual we have a load of old crap some great stories from the past week to share with you.

Weather-wise, it was reported that 2010 was the coldest UK winter on record,  whilst  being the 2nd warmest year Globally. Do you think someone has it in for us? Maybe it’s a conspiracy along the lines of “why can’t we ever win the Eurovision Song Contest” despite cheating our way into the final’s every year donating towards the contest costs?
 

Yay!  Top Gear came back!  Clarkson heroically had a helicopter land on the roof of a car he was driving.. it was like watching James Bond, only well, you know.. Clarkson is really scruffy, annoying and not in the least bit fanciable. APART from that.. it was awesome : ) Another Yay! Richard Hammond finally cut his hair, I think Mummy must have put her foot down although he is still wearing his 18-30s necklace..  Best of all though, they introduced a new Stig, who says women cant’ drive? ; )

A new comedy show was launched on TV this week with a live format.. The 10 O’Clock Show.. it was good but a bit like watching a Twitter stream that’s already three days old.

The best news of the week for me was that Ed Balls was finally appointed as Shadow Chancellor, sadly at the expense of Alan Johnson’s resignation but hey, the HOC will be a much livelier place from now on! Hopefully he is the man to kick Ed Miliband up the jacksy and we will see some proper opposition at last.

Andy Coulson also resigned this week so Twitter has de-twibboned from  “Sack Coulson”  and re-twibboned “Arrest Coulson” instead.. 

Mama Mia, here she goes again..  Meryl Streep was spotted at PMQs last week, swatting up for her imminent role as Margaret Thatcher in the film “The Iron Lady”. Humphrey just hopes it’s not a singing role, although “Money Money Money” would be rather appropriate.

Lastly and Ghastly.. my favourite tweeter stopped tweeting :*(   This post (sorry it’s crap) is dedicated to the much missed @Gaijinsan21, we hope you come back soon, Humphrey Twitter just isn’t the same without you x

On the first day of Cripmas… #disability

.. the Coalition gave to me…

The Broken of Britain proudly present Imana (11 years old) singing “The Twelve Days Of Cripmas”

Twelve Days Of Cripmas Lyrics by @Hossylass :

On the first day of Christmas the Government took from me the right to peace and harmony.

On the second day of Christmas the Government took from me,
social standing,
and the right to peace and harmony

On the third day of Christmas the Government took from me,
my I B,
social standing, and the right to peace and harmony.

On the fourth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
my contributions,
my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony.

On the fifth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
my bu-us pass,
my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony.

On the sixth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
rights to housing,
my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony.

On the seventh day of Christmas the Government took from me,
mobility in care homes,
rights to housing, my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony

On the eighth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
5 years of pension,
mobility in care homes, rights to housing, my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony

On the ninth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
council funded care,
5 years of pension, mobility in care homes, rights to housing, my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony

On the tenth day of Christmas the Government took from me,
All my DLA,
council funded care, 5 years of pension, mobility in care homes, rights to housing, my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony

On the eleventh day of Christmas the Government took from me,
Independent Living Fund,
All my DLA, council funded care, 5 years of pension, mobility in care homes, rights to housing, my bu-us pass, my contributions, my I B, social standing, and the right to peace and harmony

On the Twelfth day of Christmas the Government gave to me,
a ticket to Dignitas.

Heads I Win…

Since 1840 the Monarchy’s head has appeared on British stamps, one attempt by Tony Benn in 1965 to change that failed.. Now, just 8 months into our Coalition government, Royal Mail is up for sale and the back of our Monarch’s head could be licked for the last time.  Whilst images of bright orange Tango or Easy Jet’d post boxes and vans spring horrifically to mind,  the Coalition blame Labour, Labour blame the Coalition, Labour/Coalition, Coalition/Labour… lets call the whole thing off….

Personally, I am surprised by the government’s epic failure to protect the status quo, however it does leave Ms Cushion with a marvellous opportunity ; )

Thanks to @johnrisby for the stamp link ; )

Don’t feed them after midnight… #LibDems

My name is Humphrey Cushion, I am a Lib-Dem… there, I’ve said it.  Much to the disappointment and derision of my family, I have always been a Lib Dem – right from my first nervous entrance into my local church hall to vote in the council elections at 18ish..  Paddy Ashdown inspired trust in me, that along with a slight crush ; )   and when he handed over to Charles Kennedy I still supported them, although I was naturally disappointed Paddy was no longer the figurehead.  “Old Labour” came across as too rough, too angry for me while the Lib Dems were kind but fair, green and more palatable by far than the Conservatives.  We suited each other.

When Tony Blair became Labour leader I had a change of heart, I despised the Conservatives and so for the first time, put my cross in the Labour box.  I have never regretted making that choice, indeed I am proud of Labour’s achievements and sing from the rooftops about them as you may know!   This is mostly due to the changes Labour have made to mine and my families lives.  I remember struggling for years, alongside my husband to make ends meet until the introduction of Tax Credits. 

Some time after, we moved to Spain for a few years and upon my return I saw a real difference to the services in our country which, being so close you may not have noticed.  There was an awful lot of red-tape, political correctness and intrusion though.. 

We came back  from Spain smack in the middle of the so-called “Credit Crunch”.. how I hate that expression, my work colleagues talked about it constantly.. they couldn’t understand that it literally meant STOP BORROWING MONEY! If you want something, save up for it.. whatever happened to that?  I sadly remember Woolworths going belly-up that year, it was awful, almost as though Christmas itself took a last, choking breath in sympathy.

Naturally, with the GE2010 was coming up I had to take a long, hard look at where the country was and who to support.  Although I admired Nick Clegg a lot, (his performances in the Leaders Debates were outstanding) I did not think for one minute that the Lib Dems would garner enough votes to keep out the Conservatives.  I threw myself headlong into supporting and became a card-carrying member of Labour.  I even got to meet Gordon & Sarah when they visited Bedford (and nicked a couple of BIG signs to hang in my windows, shhh)

Sadly, Labour couldn’t pull in enough votes and the Coalition was born.  Although very unhappy that Clegg & Co made what I think was the wrong choice, I trusted my natural party to lessen the impact of the Conservatives on Britain. How wrong I was.  It seems that somebody fed the Lib Dem MPs after midnight and the sweet Mugwai became “The New Batch”…. instead of watering down Tory policies they have thrown themselves headlong into the havoc being wreaked on this country.  I have images of Cameron and Osborne giggling maniacally whilst dropping water (wine) on them and feeding them Fois Gras after midnight.  What will it take for them to wake up and smell the coffee?  They deliberately and calculatedly courted the younger votes during their election campaign, focusing on social networking sites.  Together they signed a pledge promising to vote AGAINST tuition fees..  the young believed them and gave their extra 1 million votes.  Now the Lib Dem MPs are seemingly shocked that the students are rebelling and holding them to account and are desperately trying to wriggle out of their solumn, heart-felt and PERSONAL pledges.

I still love the real Liberal Democrats and what they stand for, the ones who voted to scrap tuition fees in their 2009 conference..  however I fear for their future.  Unless “Stripe and Brains” do the decent thing and not only allow their MPs to vote against the tuition fees on Thursday but stand alongside them,  I think the Lib Dems are history.  The Coalition will continue to hit the vulnerable of Britain, the beggars will return to our tubes, jobcentre queues will become once more commonplace, the homeless will reinhabitate our doorways. 

Come on Wild Things..  show you have some balls and vote AGAINST the tuition fees on Thursday!!  #IAmGismo

(If you have a Lib Dem MP, please lobby your heart out this week! You can email them via this link: They Work For You  )

*A short blog post which caught my attention this morning;  Explaining Modern Government.. in 3 sentences!

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