That didn’t turn out well

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Here we have a BBC article, with the 2001 news that the Labour Prime Minister of the time wanted a midget named Vladimir Putin at, or on, “the top table” of international relations so that he might “adopt Western values”, despite official advice. This a reminder of how world leaders failed to react to his partial invasions of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia between 2008 and 2014. Rotten apples do not raise themselves to the standard of the other fruit in the barrel, they lower the rest of the barrel to their standards.

In one sense, of course, anyone can make a mistake, except that the Labour leader today relies almost exclusively on Hindsight.

Is it a Merry Christmas for Ipswich Town Centre?

Whilst we wish the blessings of the Christ Child on all our readers at this special time of the year when peace returns to our land, I want to reflect on the state of Ipswich town centre.

At the time of writing, the Star shows that the footfall may have been lower in the town for shopping in recent weeks. I have no doubt it would have been higher if the left-wing media classes led by the BBC and our local media, had not been telling everyone how hard up they might be by Christmas. The government has given hundreds if not thousands of pounds in extra financial support to every household in the country, with a minimum of £400 per house for electricity support, £150 off all council tax bills, £600 to pensioners for winter fuel allowance, and even more for people on universal credit and other benefits, to a total cost of about £55 billion. A further 2230 Ipswich residents on pension credit have received a second cost of living payment of £324, after one of £326 earlier in the year.

But the media want people to forget that as instead they spent all year talking down the economy. Recently the Ipswich Star reported that Bury St Edmunds is getting new shops and Ipswich is losing them, the withdrawal of Brew Dog being a recent example. The Star writer was asking why.

Bury St Edmunds has been recognised as one of Britain’s best market towns to visit to get into the Christmas spirit, according to the Telegraph’s 10 greatest market towns.

The answer is obvious. Bury St Edmunds has lots of Conservative councillors. Conservatives have the vision to promote and boost their local areas. And this creates confidence amongst residents and visitors to shop there.

Sadly 1970s-style Labour-run Ipswich Council along with its’ “Ipswich Central” organisation which is charged with “managing” the town centre, have both run out of ideas and steam.

Just take a look at the Ipswich streets Christmas lights display this year? What has happened to it? So much less than former years.

The Conservative group on Ipswich Borough Council has the vision for Ipswich but as we are in opposition to the majority Labour Group, our influence is limited. What normally happens is that we suggest ideas for improving the town, the Labour group shoot it down, saying what a terrible idea it is, and then they realise our ideas are worthy of implementation, so do so a year or 2 later, albeit badly.

This BBC article demonstrates how towns have changed. What does it show has happened to Ipswich in the last 3 years?
Eating and Drinking: nationally the number of businesses has increased by 4%, Ipswich is DOWN by 4%.
Retail: down nationally 3%, 10% in Ipswich.
Banks closed: Nationally 8.1%, 20.8% in Ipswich.
Beauty services: 5.9% up nationally, 5% increase in Ipswich
Closure of public toilets: nationally 2.3%, 5.9% in Ipswich.
Tattoo and piercing studios: 8.2% more nationally, 18.2% in Ipswich.

So the answer to the Star’s question is simple, and gives rise to the simple solution to turn things round. Let the Conservative Group take control of the Council, and we can transform the town for the long term benefit of all Ipswich residents and get more people coming into the town, rather than them shopping in other regional towns and cities.

May the joy surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ as Saviour of the World enter our hearts as we strive to improve our town, and pray for peace in the world’s trouble spots, notably Ukraine.

Dan and Tom: A14 crashes prompts call to address Ipswich traffic issues

A crash involving three vehicles and a bus resulted in several hours of disruption and further frustration for motorists using the A14. One lane of the eastbound carriageway was closed following a crash near the Orwell Bridge at 8am on Monday morning (5th) and was cleared just after 10.30am. 

Suffolk Police confirmed there had been no reports of any injuries. Around three-and-a-half miles of congestion was caused as a result prompting motorists to share their frustrations. The A14 closing and traffic at Orwell Bridge regularly cause gridlock and severe delays around the town.

This incident comes nearly two months since Ipswich Transport Taskforce said it expected to publish its recommendations in regard to constant traffic in the town. The taskforce chaired by MPs Tom Hunt and Dr Dan Poulter was set up in 2020 after the idea of a northern bypass was dropped.

Image: Newsquest

Tom Hunt, Ipswich MP and co-chairman of the taskforce, said: “The traffic issue around the Orwell Bridge is certainly a difficult situation. My initial involvement in the Orwell Bridge was to minimise or prevent closures of the bridge that are associated with high wind speed, which is why I was so involved in the campaign to get a variable speed limit introduced.”

“The variable speed limit has been successful in seriously reducing closures of the bridge that are associated with high wind speeds.Unfortunately, accidents on and near the bridge are a separate issue, and it has been very frustrating to see the number of accidents remaining quite high. I plan to work closely with National Highways, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police to minimise the disruptions.”

“In terms of the taskforce, the question is what plan does the National Highways have in conjunction with Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police to try to tackle the issues.”

Tom and the Fire Safety Minister

I’ve met more than once with the new Minister responsible for fire safety and cladding, Lee Rowley, over recent weeks. We have discussed the situation at Cardinal Lofts and I’ve also brought him fully up to speed as he’s new to his post on the scandalous situation at St Francis Tower.

This photo is from last month but I met again with him last week and will be doing so again very soon. He’s been responsive on the Cardinal Lofts issue and I’m hopeful that he’ll finally bring forward some concerted Government action on the St Francis Tower issue.

Priory Heath by-election: 15th inst.

There is a by-election in Priory Heath Ward, following a Labour councillor abandoning their post and resigning, which will cost thousands of pounds in local tax payers’ money. They could have waited until May when Ipswich residents normally vote, but chose to go now.

Conservative candidate Gregor McNie writes:

“Priory Heath should be thriving. Unfortunately local residents’ views have been disregarded and there is a real risk of decline in the area.

Lack of School places, traffic issues and anti-social behaviour are often a result of over development. Green spaces are precious and we cannot afford to lose them. Unfortunately the Labour council has ploughed on with more housing that is inappropriate for the area. What have your Labour councillors done to date to stop this or take into account your views? You deserve better.

With over 35 years in financial services, I know how to get things done. My years in the Royal Naval Reserve has also provided me with insight into problem solving. During my time in finance, I have had to draw up strategies for charities and pensions to not only grow their assets, but to meet their ongoing requirements.

“I would be honoured to represent you and be your voice on the Council. Using this store of experience, I would look to achieve the optimal outcome for Priory Heath to ensure that the residents have a say in future developments. We need to act now before it is too late.”

Conservative Council Group Leader Ian Fisher says “‘Labour have controlled Ipswich Council for 11 years. They have stopped listening to residents. Anti-social behaviour and knife crime are out of control. They are letting you and your family down.  It’s time for change.”

Tom Hunt MP was instrumental in road resurfacing, particulary in Queens Way, after years of neglect by Labour. Conservatives get things done.

Queens way

Ravenswood needs the right infrastructure and facilities, not more housing against residents’ wishes. Gregor will back local residents.

Tom Hunt, Conservative MP for Ipswich, says “Access to the Ravenswood estate is a major issue. This has been made worse by the Labour council approving the building of more and more flats. We need a councillor who will oppose the building of more flats. Gregor has made this clear. He will be a great choice.”


More developments from the Autumn Statement

As we come to the end of another year, a few things are becoming clear:

1) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now in reverse. Apart from the mass graves that have been discovered and the plebiscites that have taken place, there is evidence that some Ukrainian children have been stolen.

2) The inflation first stoked by the energy demands as the world economy was switched back on after Covid has been greatly exascerbated by the invasion, particularly with regard to energy and wheat. However, in the UK, a lot has been done to minimise the impact on vulnerable people and organisations over the past year and further targeted help was announced this month for 2023.

3) Britain’s underlying economy is strong, as shown by our projected OECD growth for the full year. Supporting the economy as a whole during the Covid pandemic cost just over £400 billion and supporting individuals from last year to next will have cost another £100 billion or so, but the deficit will be closed down again in good time and growth will resume.

The pension triple lock has been retained, despite press speculation. From this week, millions of pensioners will begin to receive Winter Fuel Payments boosted by £300 and more than 11 million will receive £600 on top of their existing support.

Dan on the pylons proposal

Concerns have been raised that pylons could compromise the flight zone surrounding a nearby air base.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter is worried that the East Anglia GREEN pylon project may mean helicopter pilots can’t train at low altitudes around Wattisham Air Base.

The East Anglia GREEN pylon plans would see a 180km network of 50-metre tall pylons cutting through the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex countryside.

But Dr Poulter says these pylons could cause problems for Wattisham Air Base which has its own dedicated Low Fly Area to allow units to train realistically at low levels with minimum disruption.

Dr Poulter said: “Following my meeting with senior personnel at Wattisham Air Base, I was extremely concerned to learn of the lack of earlier meaningful engagement from National Grid with personnel at Wattisham or the Ministry of Defence.

“Wattisham is a key base and it is vital that operations here are not compromised due to National Grid’s controversial East Anglia Green proposals.

He added: “Of course, it’s important to recognise that we must deliver greater reliability and capacity in our energy supplies, as well as increasing our energy security, but this simply cannot be at any cost or to the detriment of our Suffolk countryside and natural environment or in this case, to the detriment of Wattisham Air Base.

“Following my representations with the Secretaries of State, I welcome their assurance that National Grid is now engaging in a more meaningful way with Wattisham Air Base and I will continue to press the case for due consideration to be given to the operations of the air base.”

East Anglia GREEN could prevent pilots from training at low altitudes around a Suffolk airbase, Dr Dan Poulter has said. (Image: ALEX FAIRFULL)

A National Grid spokesman said: “As we develop these proposals, the East Anglia GREEN project team are actively engaging with RAF Wattisham and the MoD about the proposals and any potential impact they may have. We are committed to engaging with all parties on our proposals.”

Dr Poulter has been an outspoken critic of the proposals put forward by National Grid since the launch of the East Anglia GREEN consultation earlier this year. He said he is continuing to work closely with his fellow parliamentary colleagues to raise their collective concerns with government ministers.

Debbie Richards on “Jimmy Carr Destroys Art”

Photo courtesy of Channel 4

The Channel 4 TV programme aired on Friday 14th October 2022 called “Jimmy Carr Destroys Art” pretended to raise serious questions about cancel culture but was really sensationalist iconoclasm. I found it horrific. I’m an artist.
The programme was set in a warehouse with a standing audience of younger people who were said to be art lovers. They were shown various artworks by controversial artists and asked whether to destroy them or not. All works were thought to be genuine including a watercolour by Adolf Hitler and a ceramic vase by Pablo Picasso.
The first part of the programme showed a large landscape by Rolf Harris alongside a print by the artist Eric Gill. It was only after his death that Gill’s diaries showed he was a paedophile, who had raped his sister, both of his daughters and the family dog. Jimmy Carr told the audience about the now infamous statue by Eric Gill titled ‘Prospero & Ariel’ which is in a niche on the exterior of BBC House. It’s still there.
Two presenters each tried to stand up for one of the art works and verbally assassinate the other. The presenter defaming the Eric Gill prints said the work reflected “a Bohemian, bourgeois mind set and was decadent & smutty”. I’ve seen some of Eric Gill’s beautiful drawing and prints of his daughters who posed naked in bath tubs for him. All I thought of was his daughters, nothing to do with class. I think that reflected the presenter’s political values more than anything else.
The Rolf Harris landscape was easy to criticise as it wasn’t very good, even though it cost £7,000.
The audience voted to destroy the Eric Gill prints because his crimes were worse than those of Rolf Harris, even though the art was far superior. It was destroyed with a flame thrower.
After that came a photo by Sally Mann of her naked four year old daughter and a small copy of Marcus Harvey’s Myra Hindley mug shot painting, created in a pixellated fashion with tiny stencils of children’s hands. The full scale Myra Hindley painting caused outrage when it was first shown at the Sensation Exhibition in London and it had to be withdrawn. The small Myra Hindley painting was chosen by the audience for destruction by firing squad. It was literally shot to pieces.
Then came the watercolour painting of “Cloisters and Bell Tower” by Adolf Hitler. This rare piece was summarily despatched by chain saws after the audience decided it didn’t deserve to exist.
The audience then had to choose between a head and shoulders statue by Rachel Dolezau who pretended to be black mixed race when she was really white with a curly perm, and a racist Victorian print by John Leach. The print blamed black slaves for the US Civil War. The audience chose the statue by Rachel Dolezal for destruction because of the artist’s crime of cultural appropriation. It was dropped from a balcony and smashed on the warehouse floor. Cancel culture reigned supreme.
A ceramic vase by Picasso came next. It was presented dramatically with a huge lead weight suspended above it as though it was in an Acme cartoon. After hearing about Picasso’s misogynistic treatment of the women in his life the audience was invited to cut red strings holding up the lead weight. Quite a few people (all men it has to be said) did cut the strings but not sufficient people to let the weight drop. Sigh of relief. I thought Janet Street Porter, who was attempting to stand up for the “flawed genius”, might snatch it away at the last minute.
Channel 4 has spent a lot of money on genuine works of art to destroy in this show. When I complained about it on Facebook I was reminded by Stephen Lark that that the Nazis destroyed sixteen thousand pieces of so called “degenerate” artworks by artists we now consider to be geniuses – and then stole millions of deutschmarks worth of art they approved of – before going on to destroy millions of people.

** FILE ** This file photo supplied by Bonhams New York auction house shows a 1935 painting by Winston Churchill of a Moroccan sunset, “Sunset Over the Atlas Mountains.” The painting by Winston Churchill of a Moroccan sunset, a view he loved so much that he invited President Franklin D. Roosevelt to see it, has sold for $350,000 (220,000 euros) an auction company Web site says. (AP Photo/Bonhams New York, File) ** NO SALES **

As I watched the show I thought about Winston Churchill’s lovely oil paintings and how the carpet bombing of Dresden that he ordered could be regarded as a war crime. Should we destroy his paintings too? Certainly not, he was a war hero… wasn’t he?
I also thought about the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and its printing of twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, including one of the prophet wearing a bomb instead of a turban. Two Islamic terrorists killed twelve people at their office in outrage over this. So I say “Je Suis Charlie”. I stand up for free speech including in art. I may not like it, especially the Myra Hindley painting which I thought was sickening when I first saw the large original, but I would never destroy it.

Art is precious and has value of its own, maybe only because it is a historic artefact, maybe because it’s beautiful. People lucky enough to own art are its custodians. They don’t have the right to destroy it so that future generations can never see it. Existing photographically online isn’t good enough. We place value in the object itself.

Tom on the Novotel issue

I’m pleased that a short term injunction has been placed on the Novotel being used to host those who have entered our country illegally. This short term injunction applies to all hotels in the Ipswich Borough Council area, however it will only last until early next month when there will be a Court hearing.
However, I understand that 70 of the initially planned 200 have already arrived at the Novotel and it won’t apply to them, which is very frustrating.
I’m pleased the Borough Council, following pressure from the Conservative Group leader Ian Fisher, are taking steps to try block this. We need to do our very best to ensure this isn’t just a short term reprieve. Try not to get your hopes up too much!
I will redouble my efforts at a national level to prevent this. I’m applying increasing pressure on the Home Office. I hope that, between my efforts and the efforts of the Borough Council, we’re able to stop this.
I plan to meet local businesses this weekend who have concerns.

Novotel in the Ipswich town centre (Image: Archant)

UPDATE: I was notified this morning (Wednesday) that, next Tuesday from 11:00-11:30, I’ve secured a special Parliamentary debate on the Novotel situation. The relevant Home Office Minister will be attending so the debate will represent a valuable opportunity to represent the extent of my constituents’ concerns.
“Just seen the Labour Shadow Home Secretary has visited Ipswich and has been commenting on the Novotel situation. I have not forgotten how, not that long ago, she led an urgent question in Parliament objecting to the then Government accommodating those who have come over illegally at Napier Barracks. At the time I thought it was shocking how she seemed to be perfectly comfortable with our Armed services personnel being accommodated there but not those who have illegally entered our country. (The same Mrs. Balls who promised about five years ago to accommodate an asylum seeker – I wonder how that went?)
Now she opposes them being accommodated in hotels?
The Labour candidate has been totally silent on the Novotel matter. Perhaps because he doesn’t want to draw attention to his repeated visits to the Calais camps where the individuals in question have come into our country from.
I look forward to my debate in Parliament next week where I will be demanding action from the Government.”

What qualities should a peer have?

Super Blue says

Let us consider two cases:

  1. Lord Twatson of Smear?
    This is Tom Watson, a former Labour deputy leader known for shrinking but not for harmony with his erstwhile leader. About six years ago, Watson alleged, using parliamentary privilege and based upon the evidence of “Nick” (a nurse named Carl Beech), that some of his political opponents and other prominent society figures had sexually abused “Nick” and others forty years ago. Not only were these allegations shown to be false but Beech is now serving a long prison sentence for committing sexual abuse in his own right and on a large scale. Watson, therefore believed what he was saying and was highly credulous, or didn’t believe it and was just using the allegations to smear opponents, two of whom have subsequently passed away whilst a third temporarily lost a well-paid job and accommodation that came with it. I shall…

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