Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Spent the whole day cocooned in Cromer finishing off writing and designing some more election literature. Then did some doorknocking in Worstead. There's a great sense of the calm before the storm at the moment.

For George & England

If you agree with me that St George's Day should be a bank holiday CLICK HERE!

You're not nicked Madam

So Charles Kennedy doesn't want to send female shoplifters to prison. I thought we had sex equality in this country. Not in LibDem la la land obviously. Is this an example of the tough liberalism Mark Oaten keeps harping on about? Methinks not.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Good Time to Bury Bad News?

Sometimes I really wonder. The local Primary Care Trust sent out a press release at 5 to 5 on Maundy Thursday announcing the closure of the minor injuries unit at North Walsham Cottage Hospital. Obviously a good time to bury bad news. The EDP had no chance to quiz them on it as they were all off over the Easter break. It's yet another blow to the local health economy. Since 1998 the number of beds at North Walsham Cottage Hospital have fallen from 23 to 14 and staff shortages forced the minor injuries unit to close during night hours last year. So where's the money gone, Dr Reid?

Mellorphant Man & Tarzan

I had the dubious pleasure of listening to David Mellor on 5 Live today ranting on about Howard Flight. Isn't it amazing how the media have this wonderful knack of dragging out the has beens and never was's to comment on things like this? At least Heseltine talked sense on the Today Programme.


Watched Colditz tonight. Rarely have I seen such a terrible drama. The BBC series in the 1970s was much better! I visited Colditz shortly after the wall came down in 1990. It was still being used as a mental asylum so you got a real feel for the place. I got a tour from someone who had lived in the village during the war - totally fascinating. I know there were plans to develop it as a hotel. I hope they came to nothing.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Canvassing Today

And they say the Tory Party is ageing. Today I was the oldest of our canvassers! We even had a 9 year old knocking on doors! We got absolutely drenched in North Walsham where we covered a lot of ground. This afternoon we had a big team out in Ludham. Several switchers from LibDem to us but perhaps more interestingly several switchers from Labour to us.

This evening I picked up a train set for my Dad (don't ask) in Freethorpe which I then delivered to him in Saffron Walden and took the opportunity of visiting my sister Sheena, who has just sprogged. Her new daughter is called Zoe and she even managed to persuade me to hold her for twenty minutes. Amazingly she didn't scream her head off and in fact went to sleep. And I didn't even have to make a speech! Boom boom.

And nobody on the doorstep mentioned the Howard Flight rumpus...

LibDems & Commies

My colleague in Norwich South Anthony Little reports his best comment of the day...

Voter: "If you must know, I'm a communist. So left-wing it hurts. That's why I'm voting LibDem!"

And I see North Norfolk will be benefitting from a visit from Charles Kennedy on Thursday. He'll be in Fakenham. This is quite interesting as the LibDems have a policy of generally not sending him to seats they already hold. Read into that what you will.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Vote for Me!

 Posted by HelloNow, don't let me down! Have you voted for my Blog in the Guardian Political Blog Awards! You can do so by CLICKING HERE.

Mourning Common Sense

I hate the compensation culture and political correctness. I received this from a lady in North Walsham. I thought it worth sharing with you...

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I'm A Whinger and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on, if not join the majority and do nothing.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Into Labour!

Just sent off my first election leaflet to the printers. I always wondered what it must be like to give birth. Now I know...


I have had several definitions of a flaneur. Not sure I like what I hear, but there you go...!

What's a flâneur? "An idle man-about-town," one of those fin-de-siècle
dandies who ambled through the crowds of European cities in search of
bustle, gossip, and beauty.

One who observes and comments in a witty, sophisticated, detached and slightly mocking manner. To be a flaneur was quite the thing in Paris in the late 19th century. It comes from the French verb which means to stroll, saunter etc.

And from one of my keenest Party members... "Un flaneur - "someone who idles about" - fits you perfectly!! I don't mean it."

Just come back from a morning's canvassing the other side of Holt. Got drenched. Two new poster sites though, so every cloud has a silver lining.

Shortlisted for an Award

I just found out that this Blog has been shortlisted by The Guardian for Political Blog of the Year. They describe it as ''Funny, witty, irreverent weblog of Iain Dale, well known raconteur, flaneur and Conservative PPC for North Norfolk. Informative about North Norfolk issues w/out being tedious.' Can anyone tell me what a flaneur is? Anyway, dear reader, should you wish to vote for me
CLICK HERE. Remember - vote early and vote often! Only joking...

Tomorrow I am out canvassing in Glaven Valley in the morning and we have the final debate in our series of seven at Wells Community Centre at 7pm. I hope people there will be pleased at my announcement last Friday on the Conservative pledge to reopen Wells Hospital.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Religion, Posters and Wind

This morning I was invited to speak to Cromer Bible study group. It was a fascinating couple of hours and we covered a lot of ground - abortion, euthanasia, third world debt, the Middle East and a lot more besides. I always have a simple policy in this type of arena - give your honest views and don't pander to what you think people want to hear. Too many politicians do that and I can't stand it. I had the invitation a month ago, but it appears neither Norman Lamb or Phil Harris, the Labour candidate have bothered to reply.

Got my election posters this evening. Whoopee! They look fantastic.

The Guestwick Wind Turbines have been turned down by Broadland Planning Committee. good on them. We need to put money into biofuels, not windpower.


You've got to see this. Tony Blair and his crew in Trainspotting. CLICK HERE...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Today in Brief

Attended a house meeting in Swanton Novers hosted by my old boss PAtrick Thompson, who was MP for Norwich North from 1983 to 1997. Then went on to West Raynham Parish Council. Trying to finalise my election literature but have writers block...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

New Poster Posted by Hello

A Day in Swanton Abbott

I've spent the whole day on planning the General Election campaign and preparing for the meeting tomorrow in Mundesley on Coastal Erosion. James Paice MP is coming to a public meeting and we'll be talking about Conservative policy on sea defences. We're then meeting a group of farmers near Holt in the afternoon.

The papers are full of Michael Howard speaking out against illegal gypsy encampments and abortion. I'm with him on both.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Today's canvassing

My feet feel as if they are about to drop off. We did seven, yes seven, hours canvassing today. I was in Wells all morning and spent this afternoon in Hickling. What a beautiful village Hickling is. And such nice people too. I met a lovely LibDem lady who told me how much she hates Europe... She voted UKIP in the European elections. It's becoming clear to me that UKIP's vote is fragmenting totally, and that it is by no means all made up of ex Tories. We had several ex Labour voters today switch to us. It's very interesting what is happening to the Labour vote. In some areas it is very solid, but for the switchers, for every one that goes to the LibDems two or three seem to be coming our way. My prediction, for what it is worth is that the Labour vote will reduce from 13% to about 9% or 10%. The LibDems seem to think it will all go to them. My experience is very different.

I'm about to go to Cromer to a fish and chip supper - or in my case very large sausage and chips! Yes, the diet went out the window a long time ago...

Wells Hospital Promise

Here's a press release I issued today...

North Norfolk Conservative Candidate Iain Dale announced today he had won a pledge from the Shadow Cabinet to re-open Wells Hospital if the Conservatives win the General Election, expected on May 5th.

Iain Dale said: "Our Health Manifesto commits us to keeping community hospitals like Wells open. I have had discussions with our Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who I have kept up to date with the situation at Wells, and he has told me that under a Conservative Government Wells Hospital would be safe. I am delighted to be the bearer of good news and I want to reassure the local community of what our plans would be. This is a major step forward and I hope it will be welcomed by everyone. A lot of people have spent a lot of time campaigning to keep the hospital open, although it is now clear that the North Norfolk PCT has made up its mind that it cannot reopen as a Community Hospital. I pay tribute to Peter Rainsford and his team who have kept the issue in the public eye. Cottage hospitals are vital for our local rural communities and I am delighted by the Conservative pledge to keep Community hospitals at the centre of our National Health Service.

"Tomorrow I shall be in Wells talking to local people about the hospital and our announcement and I look forward to my debate with the Labour candidate next Thursday at Wells Community Centre (7pm) when he will have the opportunity to match the Conservative pledge. I want to make clear that this announcement is not some sort of political gimmick - hospitals are too important for that. I've made my support for Wells Hospital clear right from the start and have been working with my colleagues in Westminster to achieve what I am announcing today. I hope it demonstartes my ability to influence the debate and get things done and I hope the people of Wells will find reassurance in what we are announcing."

Boiler Trouble

Forgot to say. Plumber came. All sorted - and the plumbing! £30! Hurrah! Kitchen now drying. I had thought a new boiler might be needed. Apparently that would cost £2000! Thank God it's not necessary.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Theresa May Day

 Posted by Hello
Up at 8 to collect Theresa May from Norwich Station. After my experiences with IDs, Boris and Cecil Parkinson being 90 minutes late I approached the platform with some trepidation. I need not have feared - I soon spotted the famous shoes stepping towards me. We then drove to Holt to visit the Charles Road Day Centre for people with learning disabilities. We're pictured here with Fred, who kindly showed us round and introduced us to everyone. Then on to North Norfolk Radio where Theresa did a stint for 45 minutes. Then a speedy drive to the Beechwood Hotel in North Walsham. On the way I learnt I had become an Uncle for the third time. My sister had a baby this morning - Zoe Elizabeth. I was so shocked that I started to drive through a red light at some roadworks in Felmingham until Theresa May pointed out what I was about to do! We had a good meeting with a group of 15 people to discuss parental access issues. It was then on to Norwich to visit the Open24-7 centre on Bank Plain. An amazing project. It's a fantastic new youth venue and if it works will be a tremendous asset for Norfolk. This evening Theresa and I attended and spoke at a black tie dinner in Hanworth.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Varied Day

Today was varied to say the least. It started at 9am when I spent a couple of hours talking to 30 pupils of All Saints School, Lessingham. They were 13-16 years old and I have to say they were the most enthusiastic teenagers I have come across. The questions kept coming and coming and coming. And they were good ones too. Quite a lot involved killing... but hey! I had to call a halt at 10 to 11 as I was supposed to be in Mundesley at 11, Great kids. In Mundesley I made a brief speech at Mundesley Conservatives AGM and then spent a very enjoable half an hour with the residents of the Munhaven Old Peoples Home. A great bunch of people. A campaign team meeting in the afternoon which was extremely positive and then Cromer School Governors in the evening. Came home to find the kitchen under water. The boiler's sprung a leak. I know nothing about plumbing. HEEELLLPP!

Gordon Brown's Hubris

Guido Fawkes has a great post today on Gordon Brown's supposed 51 quarters of economic growth - what he doesn't say is that a third of these were under John major after White Wednesday in 1992! Here's what Guido has to say...

Yesterday Gordon took credit in his speech for an impressive 50 quarters of consecutive growth. "Today I can report economic growth for the 50th consecutive quarter. The budget forecast is continued growth in quarters 51, 52, 53 and 54."

An excellent record going back 12 1/2 years to the autumn of 1992. Guido remembers it well, the economy was unshackled from the sado-monetarism of shadowing the Bundesbank on White Wednesday and so began our long unbroken boom...

Lamont sang Non Je Ne Regrette Rien in the bath after he exited us from the ERM madness, but Gordon Brown described the ERM as applying 'socialist planning' to the economy rather than 'relying on market forces'. He told the parliamentary Labour party 'We can fight the speculators if we join the ERM'. Gordon was a fan of the ERM and the Labour party was enthusiastic for Britain to remain shackled to it.

So the foundations of Gordon's 50 consecutive quarters of growth were actually 5 years of Tory economic stewardship with a policy opposed by Brown."

The bit Gordon Brown edited out of his speech comes courtesy of the ADAM SMITH INSTITUE Blog...

In pointing to 50 successive quarters of economic growth, I would like to thank the previous Conservative government under which the first 19 of those growth quarters occurred, and which set Britain on the road to economic success.
I would like especially to thank Margaret Thatcher, who with great effort and courage gave us a flexible labour market and an adaptable economy. This has enabled us to move to high value service industries and adjust to a decline in manufacturing. I thank her especially for doing this despite the total opposition of my own party. Thanks are also due to British businesses, most of which have struggled to bear the extra load of taxation and regulation I imposed upon them, yet still manage to survive and even to prosper. The Chinese deserve my special thanks for helping to keep down inflation. By supplying us with low cost products, they have held down prices and helped us avert upward pressure on wages. And their demand for energy has boosted the revenues we derive from our North Sea oil. Our French and German partners are to be thanked for piling extra costs upon their own businesses, and making ours more competitive by contrast. The investment which has come to Britain instead of to them I particularly appreciate. And of course I must thank the British taxpayers who have paid all of my stealth taxes and seen their own burden rise. More of them than ever before have been swept into higher tax rates, inheritance tax and stamp duty. Tax Freedom Day now comes several days later as they struggle to pay the government’s increased portion of the economy. I thank them. Without all of these brave contributions, the UK’s economic success would not have been possible; and I am duly grateful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Small Print

In his Budget Gordon Brown said all pensioners would receive £200 off their Council Tax bills - what he did not say was that this is a one off offer for this year only.

In his Budget Gordon Brown said all pensioners would receive free bus travel - what he did not say is that this is for 'off peak only'.

In his Budget Gordon Brown announced a new package of expenditure for school building - what he did not say was that this money has already been announced previously* and that it does not come on stream for four more years.

Same old Chancellor. Same old spin machine!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

And another thing...

Isn't this storyline about Katy killing her Dad in Coronation Street totally ridiculous. And no doubt they'll spin it out for a good few more weeks yet. Personally I am still mourning the demise of the reicarnated Crossroads. Pure class.

I see David Blunkett is appealing to the pro-English lobby today. Just seen him on Newsnight. There's something deeply impressive about Blunkers but I can't help thinking he'll never be quite the same again. He's obviously desperate for a second coming, but I cannot imagine Blair will give him as senior a job as Home Secretary. And I read in the papers today that Stephen Byers is tipped for a return. That should get the voters into the polling booths then!

Peter Hain's "attack mongrel" quote was an utter disgrace. Is this really what we're all going to have to put with over the next few weeks?

So Paul Boaeteng is off to South Africa. I've always thought him to be one of Labour's MPs. Quite what the South Africans have done to warrant this infliction I'd better not speculate on.

So Boaeteng to South Africa, Helen Liddell to Australia. What next? Jack Straw to Zimbabwe? Or should that be Uganda? I hear he is not impartial to Ugandan discussions with colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Well, he is Foreign Secretary, so why shouldn't he?

In case you feel I have lost the thread, I have.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Gresham's School

Tomorrow I am going to Gresham's to speak to a group of 14-15 year olds about the forthcoming election. Not a single voter in sight but I really enjoy doing these school visits. You never quite know what is going to happen but you can guarantee some really good questions.

Theresa May on Friday

We have Theresa May coming to North Norfolk on Friday. I'm organising a discussion with some local people about parental access, which should be quite interesting. I'm getting a diverse group of people together ranging from Families Need Fathers to the Mothers Union. I think family policy is going tobe a big issue in the election campaign.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Back on Form

Feeling very guilty today as I have bought a new laptop. Also got a new mobile phone, although bizarrely enough that was free - it seems I use mine so much I get a free upgrade! The laptop will enable me to post a bit more regularly again. This week my old laptop gave up the ghost so I have not been able to get online very much. A mountain of emails to reply to, especially from people who have received my CD Rom. It seems to have become quite a hit, which is a relief.

Yesterday we spent the whole day in the villages on the coast between Morston and Salthouse.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


I have decided to follow Stephen Pollard's example and delete the Comment facility on this Blog. As we get nearer the election I haven't got time to moderate it and as many of you will know, in recent weeks the Comment facility has been abused by people who ought to know better.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ping Pong

I see the Commons and Lords are still at it on the Terrorism Bill. That scuppers the gathering of the clans tomorrow in brighton where MPs and Candidates are supposed to have an 'away day'.Hard to see where this one will end. I hear rumours that Blair may call an election on Monday if he diesn't get his way. High stakes indeed.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

John Reid Should be Ashamed

I just read this quote from "Dr" John Reid. "If the Conservatives get in there won't just be cancelled operations - there'll be cancelled lives." What an utter disgrace.

Coastal Defence Debate

I've just read the debate yesterday in the Commons which Norman Lamb secured on the Shoreline Management Plan. About 50 people travelled down from Happisburgh to attend. I've read Norman's speech and to be honest I could have happily uttered every word myself. Labour's Tony Wright also spoke and made some valid points. I really believe that this issue is going to dominate the next couple of years for whoever is MP for North Norfolk after May 5th. If you want to read the debate CLICK HERE.

Demanding Audience

Well, I survived the 700 A Level students! I was last on, just after Danny Finkelstein from The Times. They booed him for being pro-war. I think I came across Ok - no tub thumping - just calm, reasoned, measured language. In fact, if anything I was a bit flat, to be honest. The questions were excellent.

Got to do more work on election literature now. I'm convinced Blair will call the election straight after the budget. Better be ready!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Are You Thinking What The Guardian's Thinking?

A very interesting article by Martin Kettle in The Guardian today. He thinks the elections is far from in the bag for Labour. For some reason the link facility isn't working so copy and paste this into your browser...,9321,1432662,00.html

A Levels and the Iron Lady

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of days. Even a candidate has to earn a living, you know! I've spent this evening quaking in my boots about what lies before me tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon I have to make a speech to 700 A Level Politics Students in london. I'm deputising for David Davis, who has to be in the Commons for the Terror Laws rolling three line whip. I have to speak for 15 minutes and then do 15 minutes questions. Should be fun (yikes...). I'm following Simon Hughes, Michael Meacher, Baroness Scotland and Theresa May.

Today has been spent partly at work but partly doing some spadework on health policies. I intend health to form a major part of my election campaign.

My CD Rom has been hitting people's doormats over the last few days. It'll be interesting to see what the response is like. I've already had a phone call at home this evening from someone who was raving about it - they even want to help in the campaign. Let's hope there are lots more like it.

Yesterday evening a friend of mine held a small party to raise some funds for the campaign in Westminster. I guess about 50 people turned up, including a certain former Prime Minister! And I'm not talking about Ted Heath! It really was great to see Lady T there and she was in fine form. I introduced her to a Labour friend of mine and she fixed me with the famous look and said "She may have voted Labour last time, but you won't be making that mistake again, WILL YOU, DEAR?! My friend shook her head, barely able to utter a reply.

So I have worked out I have had five Leaders of the Conservative Party supporting my campaign - Thatcher, Major, Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard. Roll on Ted Heath...!

LibDems Soft on Crime

 Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Varied Times

Set out at 8.45 in blizzard like conditions for the coast. We have a new leaflet on coastal erosion which we're delivering to the coastal villages. What a very cold and wet morning. The snow was a joy (not). Six of us trudged through huge puddles but we did a sterling job and completed delivery in four areas. We didn;t doorknock today due to the weather but I spoke to quite a lot of people who really liked what we were saying in the leaflet. I'll try and upload a PDF of it onto the website soon.

We called it a day mid afternoon and I drove into Norwich to see the Chelsea game. As you may know I am a West Ham supporter so it waa good to see Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Glen Johnson playing. Joe Cole scored a cracker of a goal, but Norwich were certainly not outclassed, except up front. The new striker Dean Ashton seemed completely out of his depth. I thought Norwich's new defender, whose name now escapes me (Jon Shakkalley?) was very good. Thankfully Delia remained silent!

This evening I have been talking to Norwich North Conservatives. I have a lot of friends there from my time working for Patrick Thompson MP in the 1980s. Their candidate James Tumbridge is only 25 but is doing a good job in his bid to oust my old sparring partner Ian Gibson. I ran the campaign there against him in 1992 when we won by 266 votes. He and I now get on extremely well. He may be one of my favourite Labour MPs but I still hope James beats him obviously!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Snowy Day

Took me 45 minutes to drive from my house in Swanton Abbott to Cromer this morning. Thought we would have to cancel tonight's debate in Fakenham but in the end all the snow went, although it's back with a vengeance as I type this. The weather certainly affected turnout. There were only about 35 people there, which is less than half the number who have attended the previous debates.

Tomorrow we're out on the coast delivering a newsletter on the Shoreline Management Plan to coastal villages. It's going to be a big issue at the election. I'm therefore astonished that Norman Lamb has admitted in the EDP that not only do the LibDems not have a policy on it, they won't have before the election. I won't be making the same mistake.Tomorrow evening I'm paying my first visit to Carrow Road for many years. Norwich are playing West Ham Reserves, commonly known as Chelski. I look forward to seeing Joe Cole, Frank 'lard arse' Lampard and Glen Johnson again. Ah, those were the days.

Then in the evening I am speaking at a Norwich North Conservative function.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Give Ian Huntley the Vote says Charles

Here's a piece from the Press Association about Charles Kennedy's appearance on Channel 5. He certainly knows how to get the votes, doesn't he?

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy today faced a grilling from the public in a televised interrogation. Mr Kennedy was quizzed on a range of policies from the war in Iraq, to GM crops, Europe and income tax. During the hour-long discussion on Channel Five he advocated giving convicted criminals like Soham killer Ian Huntley the vote. He was also forced to defend accepting up to £10,000 a year in party funds from fast-food giant McDonald’s despite Lib Dem support for healthy eating. Mr Kennedy rejected putting retribution to satisfy the victims of crime above reforming criminals. On the question of votes to prisoners, he said: “We believe that citizens are citizens, full stop.” Quizzed on whether, in that case, Ian Huntley should be allowed a say, he added: “If you take the view, as we do in principle, that an individual citizen is an individual citizen, that means you have entitlements that go with it in terms of voting.”

Wells Hospital Leak

I had a leaked document today from the Primary Care Trust on Wells Hospital.CLICK HERE for details.

On the Radio

Spent a very enjoyable hour on North Norfolk Radio this morning. Some excellent questions - indeed I am told it was the highest reponse they had had to a studio guest. Slightly embarrassing that my mobile went off half way through despite me having though I had turned it off. Very unprofessional!

LibDems Missed Chance

On Monday, had one third of the LibDem MPs turned up to vote (including N Lamb) the government would have lost its vote on giving the Home Secretary the right to lock up terrorist suspects. Mr Kennedy said that, with the benefit of hindsight, "the judgment call wasn't the correct one". Not for the first time Charles. It has to be said that 24 Conservatives were not present either, but that is only 14%.

North Norfolk Radio

I'll be on North Norfolk Radio for an hour today 11am to 12 noon on Richard Lawson's programme, should anyone wish to listen in!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Take the Test

CLICK HERE to take a very interesting test to confirm your political leanings. Take the long version - it's only 15 questions. I came out as a liberal Conservative, which was a bit of a relief...

Michael Howard at PMQs

Michael Howard raised today the case of someone whose operation had been cancelled seven times. I had a letter last week from a lady in Bacton whose husband had had exactly the same experience at the N&N. Luckily last week he had the operation but it had been cancelled in each of the preceding five weeks. I write this here to illustrate that the example Michael Howard quoted is not an isolated incident.

Lamb Gets Debate on SMP

Just heard that Norman Lamb has secured a Westminster Hall debate on the Shoreline Management Plan next Tuesday. This is good news and I have congratulated him on it. It will be an opportunity to put to the Minister, Elliott Morley, the concerns felt by all our coastal communites about the terrible effects of the SMF on the coastal villages of North Norfolk. They are already suffering property blight despite the racing certainty that the SMF will be rejected by the District Council when councillors vote on it.

I am also announcing today that a public meeting will be held on 21 March at the Manor Hotel, Mundesley from 11am-1pm at which our Shadow Environment Minister James Paice MP will be present. He and I will listen to local concerns and outline Conservative plans for a proper sea defences policy.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

LibDem Tax & Spend

The IFS has done a very good analysis of the LibDem Spending Plans announced yesterday. CLICK HERE to have a look at it. I understand Vincent Cable was demolished by Paxman last night. They are obviously going after the Old Labour 'tax and spend' vote. Can't see how it will appeal to many natural Copnservatives. I keep being told by people in North Norfolk that they feel the LibDems are getting a bit left-wing, although it has to be said it didn't stop the good people of Horning voting for them last week, bless 'em!

And I think to myself...

I really do seem to have got the LibDems rattled. I've just had a look at the North Norfolk Page on Vote-2005. Quite astonishing. The level of personal vitriol and outright lies are something to behold. I suppose they think they're being clever. I suppose in their weird little world, they are. Not a world I wish to inhabit thank you very much.

An Evening with Widders

Last night I was in Crewe hosting another Evening with Ann Widdecombe. Crewe has a truly wonderful theatre, the Lyceum. We had about 350 in the audience and it was one of the best we have done. These Evenings With have been a bit of a hit. Tony Benn, Norman Tebbit and William Hague have all been packing them in. And they say there's no appetite for political debate. What it proves to me is that the public are fed up with the filter of the media and they want to see their politicians in the raw. Now there's a thought...