Tag Archives: caroline spelman

Proof that not *all* Tories are bonkers on Europe (and nor was Mrs Thatcher)

margaret thatcher europeAmidst all the Tory Euro-hysteria (‘Eurotic’, I’ve heard it described as: and I seriously hope I didn’t mis-hear) it’s easy to forget there are a few Tories, a diminishing if stoic band, who have kept tight hold of their senses.

And though it was David Cameron’s desperate last-ditch pitch for the job of Tory leader — his 2005 promise to his party’s Europhobes to withdraw the Tories from the mainstream centre-right EPP alliance, a policy even David Davis wouldn’t touch — which has, slowly but inevitably, dragged the party ever more fringewards, a few of his backbenchers remain hopeful they can persuade him, even now, to do the sensible thing.

Here’s some of what they’ve written to him:

We acknowledge the EU’s shortcomings and understand the desire and, under the Lisbon Treaty the possibility, to repatriate powers. However, we do our nation, as well as Europe, a disservice by not confidently exerting the same level of engagement and leadership as we demonstrate in organisations such as NATO, the G8, the UN Security Council or the Commonwealth.

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The Independent View: Liberal Democrats – nature needs you!

A majestic soaring eagle. The lightning flash of a kingfisher. Feeding the ducks.

For most people, wildlife ignites their first sparks of interest in environmental issues, yet it is currently conspicuously absent from the political discourse. We hear a lot about sustainability and climate change, but if this Government is to realise its ambitions to be “the Greenest Government ever” it has to tackle biodiversity conservation as well.

We desperately need action: the UK has missed its commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2010; 42% of our most important habitats and …

Posted in Conference, Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Politicians’ fathers and spouses – fair game?

There’s always a debate as to the extent that politicians’ family should be fair game for media coverage. There seems to be a general consensus that their children should be off-limits. Mind you, that didn’t stop Caroline Spelman’s 17-year-old son being pitched into the national limelight recently. (However, in that case there appear to be justifiable reasons for coverage).

Over the last week, we have seen a number of stories concerning UK politicians’ fathers and wives (or, more correctly, wife).

The …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP writes a regular column for local newspapers in his constituency. Here’s the latest edition, covering his busy week at Westminster and in the Borders.

Independence Referendum

Deciding on the future of our country and whether it remains in the UK or becomes independent will undoubtedly be the most important decision we Borderers make in our lifetime. Here in Berwickshire, we are very close to our English neighbours and enjoy the freedom of travelling and trading between the two countries. With questions which need answering on the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland, …

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Which Tory minister do you think is Talking Rubbish most? Spelman, Pickles or Neill?

Friends of the Earth is inviting the public to help decide the winner of its Talking Rubbish Award to help debunk the myths peddled by right-wing newspapers and some Tory ministers who ‘like to trash recycling’. The three nominees are as follows:

    The myth: Recycling means everyone is terrified of the ‘bin police’
    “The iron fist of the municipal state has come down on people for the most minor of bin breaches.” Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

    The reality:
    Mr Pickles – and some noisy media commentators – give the impression that people live in fear of the ‘bin police’. In reality, studies show

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Tony Greaves writes: seeing the wood for the trees

Why did the Government drop its proposals for the Forestry Commission (FC) and the forests and woodlands it manages? I thought it would happen but I was astonished by the speed of it. It comes down to three things. An ill-considered and foolish policy. Incompetent presentation. And a stupendously successful and largely under the radar campaign which burst through with stunning effect.

The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) included a target of £100million from selling around 15% of the national forestry estate in England. This is the most that can be sold under existing legislation. But over the summer DEFRA Ministers …

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Coalition to rule out ‘pay as you throw’ waste charge – but why do they think it’s their job?

The Guardian reports:

Ministers are expected to announce that they are scrapping Labour plans to introduce “pay as you throw” rubbish schemes. Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, and Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will confirm that they will end schemes in which people are charged for household waste collections or for producing too much rubbish.

In one sense this is a bit of a non-story. Labour didn’t, despite the Guardian’s misleading report, plan to introduce ‘pay as you throw’ rubbish schemes – what they did was enable councils to pilot such schemes if they wished. Unsurprisingly, not least given the furore …

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How Euro-sceptic journalism works

A relatively inexpensive (£1.1 million) project kicked off in 2007.  The idea was for local authorities on each side of the English Channel to work together for mutual benefit in some specific and limited areas.

As the Espace Manche Development Initiative website explains:

Identification of the challenges in the Channel area and publication of a document defining the strategic orientations for the horizon 2007 – 2013;

Deployment of tangible initiatives structured around five themes:

* Tourism: creation of a common database on target tourist populations.
* Fishing and fish resources: constitution of a consultative regional council for fishing in the Channel area.
* Integrated coastal

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Chaos engulfs Conservative position on Regional Development Agencies

Back in December I reported how Caroline Spelman had dropped the Conservative Party’s policy of abolishing Regional Development Agencies. Then last week Ken Clarke was reported as ordering a review of the nine English RDAs to decide what to do with them, but now the Conservative Party has denied there’s a review. So there’s going to abolish them, but not and going to review them, but not. All clear I trust?

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Spelman drops Conservative pledges to abolish RDAs

So, what is the Conservative Party policy on Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)?

Well, here is Iain Dale on the matter in February:

Cameron Reinforces Pledge to Abolish RDA’s & Assemblies
David Cameron has given an interview to BBC South East, to be shown at lunchtime tomorrow in which he pledges to abolish Regional Development Agencies. Good. There had been some speculation that the Tories were wavering on that commitment.

Or here is what Public Servant magazine reported last year of both Cameron and Eric Pickles:

Tory leader David Cameron has confirmed what Public Servant magazine reported in its April issue, that the Conservatives

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Queen’s speech not much fun for local government either

The Government has long had a knack of turning a good idea into an operational nightmare. One case in point is the Queen’s Speech proposal for personal care at home. The Prime Minister has given an undertaking to find a way of ensuring that older people with the highest needs can remain at home, regardless of means.

The bill will attempt to help 400,000 people (‘guaranteeing’ free personal care for 280,000 and providing assistance to 130,000 others). Difficult to argue with? In the small print not covered by the nationals screaming about the General Election is the fact that this will …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 5 October 2009

2 Big Stories


Tory conference opens, and it’s time to party like it’s 1994

A few thousand Tories are converging on Manchester today, with two issues dominating discussion: Europe and welfare cuts. Ah, and there we were thinking The Major Years were but a distant memory.

On a more positive note, the Tories will be singing today from the localism song-book, with Caroline Spelman championing the party’s conversion to local control of local services – an interesting about-turn for an MP who opposed Scottish and Welsh devolution, and believes central government should impose council tax freezes from Whitehall.

Ministerial

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BBC Question Time – LDV open thread, 11 June ‘09 #bbcqt

Thursday rolls around, so once again it’s time to join David Dimbleby and a glittering panel of political stars for Question Time. This week’s programme is aired from Birmingham and the panel will include Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain, Conservative shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, joint secretary general of Unite Derek Simpson, and director of Global Vision Ruth Lea.

If you’re tuning in, you can join the simultanous online Twitter debate here at #bbcqt, or the LDV debate in the thread below. Meanwhile Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson will be liveblogging …

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments



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