ORTHOPAEDIC CENTRE ADJOURNMENT DEBATE

Tom writes:

Tuesday evening was my adjournment debate on orthopaedic services at Ipswich Hospital. And I called on the Health Minister to carefully look into the plans to move elective orthopaedic surgery away from Ipswich Hospital to a new centre in Colchester and meet with me again to discuss my concerns ahead of the decision on the plans on July 14th.

Public opposition to what can only be described as a downgrade to our hospital is overwhelming, and frankly the local NHS management have had their head stuck in the sand when they haven’t been openly dismissing the public’s concerns. It was therefore only appropriate to raise as many of these concerns as I could in the House yesterday evening and bring them publicly to the Government’s attention.

I said when I stood for election that I would always fight with everything I had for Ipswich’s interests and the campaign to keep elective orthopaedic surgery at Ipswich Hospital doesn’t end here. Waiting times and cancellations to planned hip and knee replacement must be tackled, but in a way which keep services local to the people who need them. And I’ll continue to fight these plans at every opportunity locally and in Parliament, and make the case for new ones where neither Ipswich nor Colchester has to lose out.

Last summer …

… a long weekend of Ed Sheeran concerts took place. By all accounts, they were well attended and will have made some money for the town’s economy, although the guesses of two or three million pounds quoted in the Star are probably in gross terms.

So, was this an unalloyed success for Ipswich Borough Council? At the recent Executive Committee meeting,this forty-nine page documentwas presented. Look at page twelve, or search for “Ed Sheeran” and you will see that they managed to lose £158,000 in unrecoverable costs which they cannot make up from the general economic benefit.

That is right, Labour in Ipswich LOST money putting on four concerts with a prominent Suffolk resident. You just couldn’t make it up!

I wonder where they are trying to organise for their group Christmas party?

FROM DIANA TO DOMINIC – FROM DEFERENCE TO INDIFFERENCE

In 1997 following the tragic death of Princess Diana, horrible as it was, the press decided to try to change public opinion against Her Majesty and for about 2 or 3 days, they succeeded. I fell for none of it. But I do remember The Sun screaming on that Monday or Tuesday WHERE IS OUR QUEEN? THE SOLE PURPOSE WAS TO SELL A FEW NEWSPAPERS TO THE EMOTIONAL PUBLIC with unnecessarily sensational headlines.

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People prefer to read a particular newspaper brand which matches up with particular way or thinking, but have limited choice when it comes to a particular radio and tv news outlets (BBC, C4 ITV or Sky), and in this day and age online news sites (real or fake) give a wider choice. Unfortunately most of them are now outlets for the left-wing Labour party and it union paymasters and other left-wing pressure groups.

In days gone by, the press (by which I mean newspaper, tv and radio “journalists”) were highly respected and trusted by the British people, but in the ever-increasing desire for 24-hour news and dwindling readers/viewers, they have caused the seeds of their own destruction by changing themselves from news reporters into an attempt at mass-persuasion and “celebrity journalists” who want to become centre of the topic.

And so back to September 1997, the public dutifully doing what their formerly deferential press demanded, agreed and said Where is the Queen, and the press had the impertinence to claim that they were only following public opinion. Utter nonsense!

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The Queen and the Royal Family remained in sanctuary in Balmoral looking after Princes William and Harry, who were all shocked and overwhelmed by this tragic loss. But the newspapers wanted to paint a completely different picture, and the subsequent movie The Queen with Michael Sheen in his cringe-worthy replication of Tony Blair and the republican Cherie Booth and the awful Alastair Campbell did nothing to improve that impression.

Thankfully by that Friday, the press’s attempts to damage the reputation of the Monarchy and the Queen herself were doomed, as the Queen came back to London and did that very moving live broadcast from the Palace window.

Spin forward to 2016 to 2020.

We know the liberal-elite journalists have fallen off their perch in being able to influence public opinion when they failed to secure a Remain Win in 2016

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and they were shocked when the Conservative Party elected Boris Johnson and he gave the Party its best majority since 1987 and gave the Labour party its worst result in 100 years. So they spend the next 3 months after December 2019 wondering how they could try to destabilise the government.

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So the health crisis came along and our elite journalists all teamed up together and have spent the last months attacking and undermining the government every day of the week. Their long term ambition is to try and get an extension to the Brexit transition period. They have failed yet again so they thought “what can we do now?”

They reached a frenzy a few weeks ago with the Dominic Cummings saga and spent nearly a week talking about nothing else, as they know Dominic secured the 2016 referendum and GE 2019 victories, and can’t work out how he did it. So they Created Fake News with an aim to overthrow him and weaken Boris Johnson. They failed spectacularly on both counts.

When there were lots of protests led by left-wing thugs over recent weekends and criminal thuggery and vandalism occurring in London, Bristol and elsewhere, I tried to find the daily Covid-19 stats on the BBC news website, but nothing could be found. So our useless online journalists at the BBC couldn’t be bothered to seek out the actual data from the government’s website and instead not even report coronavirus. They did not want to report the lowest weekend fatality figures of the crisis, as positive and encouraging news is the last thing the TV political editors and their equivalents want to report.

The condescending and patronising attitude of the daily briefing journalists behind the safety of their laptop screens has dishonoured the name of the journalistic profession, and their competing tournament to catch out our elected politicians damages the news business forever. The British people are now indifferent to our news organisations.

Getting Britain back to work

The virus is finally on its way out and life in the United Kingdom can safely, if gradually, return to normal. Workplaces are reopening and so are many schools. Less privileged children, who either don’t have a reliable internet connection or whose parents have used much of the bandwidth, have learned less during lockdown than others and all have missed out on the social aspects of schooling. Parliament, having functioned virtually for two or three months, has shown the way, having learned that properly scrutinising proposed legislation or spontaneously contributing to debates isn’t quite possible from members’ homes. We queue to shop and our MPs aren’t too grand to queue to vote. Public transport is returning to normal levels as well as facial coverings are now required.

It is time for us all to start using our common sense again, which may be a difficult concept after months of tough restrictions. No action we undertake will be completely risk-free but this was just as true a year ago before Covid-19 emerged. Many will have adapted to receiving 80% of their salary for doing nothing and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was excellent at the height of the crisis but obviously unsustainable in the medium-term, so we shall have to resume working for the extra 20%. Offices, shops, factories, other workplaces and schools will reduce the use of beaches and inland facilities during the week and people will feel the satisfaction of earning their salaries, thus appreciating real holidays more, when some more travel will be possible. The additional health spending, beyond that planned at the start of the year, can be paid for.

Of course, fewer people will be working in the first instance but the British economy was able to create nearly four million new jobs, more than three quarters of them full-time, from 2010 to early this year and it can perform the same miracle to some extent as it recovers from an enforced hibernation, preferably with the help of some supply-side reforms. There is no reason to be as pessimistic as the OECD. By July 1st, the year-end finale of the transition period will be confirmed.

So please try not to think like the woman shown on our left.

Tom calls for clearer, tougher and more honest sentencing in Commons debate

Last Friday (05/06/20), Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, made a speech during the third reading of the Sentencing Bill in which he called for criminal sentencing to be tougher, clearer, and more honest to build public confidence in the justice system.

Hunt welcomed this particular Sentencing Bill which will pave the way for complex sentencing law to be simplified. Currently the complexity of the law often leads to the justice process being drawn out and more successful appeals due to errors made by judges in sentencing. Hunt was clear that the greatest beneficiaries of this will be victims who are the ones who suffer the most from protracted court cases and confusion about what the law really says.

While Hunt welcomed this Bill as a step in the right direction, he was also clear that there is more work needed to be done to build up the public’s confidence in our sentencing regime.

Hunt said sentencing must be clearer across the board. He specifically raised the Court of Appeal’s decision to reduce the sentence of Kyreis Davies, one of the men convicted for the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in 2018, from a minimum of 21 years to just 16 years. In an emotional moment in the chamber, Hunt described how the opaque appeals process and the lenient result the judge had come to had left him and Tavis’s family confused and frustrated, and without a clear explanation of what had happened. Hunt said that while this Bill would make sentences easier to understand, a more comprehensive approach is needed across the whole justice system to make justice clearer to victims and the public.

In his speech, Hunt also emphasised the importance that sentences are honest and ‘do what they say on the tin’. Currently, many petty criminals are still let out automatically half-way through their sentences, undermining transparency in sentencing and the public’s faith in the justice system’s ability to deter crime. Hunt’s focus on more honest sentencing yesterday follows his readiness in the past to fight against any early release of prisoners. Last month, Hunt had indicated his readiness to rebel over Government plans which would have seen some prisoners released even earlier than the half-way point in their sentences. The plans were cancelled at the last minute.

Hunt’s third call in the Chamber for tougher and firmer sentences has been one of his focuses since his election. Just this week, Hunt was also at the heart of the campaign for tougher sentencing for pet theft, as he chaired a Zoom conference with the figures behind the campaign who launched a petition which is now before Parliament with well over 100,000 signatures.

Following his speech Hunt said:

“This Sentencing Bill is quite a technical piece of legislation but ultimately it will make sentences clearer for the public to understand and reduce the number of appeals and drawn out court cases which are so difficult for victims and their families.”

“This is undoubtedly welcome but it was important to make the point yesterday that we still have a long way to go in building up public confidence in our sentencing regime. I raised the appalling decision to reduce Kyreis Davies’s sentence for the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. For Tavis’s family this process has never been clear or accessible and they weren’t able to participate in it. I’ve written to Government about this but we are still no closer to understanding why this regrettable decision was made. Going forwards a more comprehensive look needs to be taken at transparency in our courts and putting the law back on the side of victims.

“It’s also crucial that sentences are honest and it’s no longer the norm that prisoners are let out before they have served their full sentence. The majority of the public can’t understand why sentences just don’t do what they say on the tin and prisoners walk free before serving their full debt to society. And there is of course I made the point that there is no substitute for tougher sentences. The sad reality is that when sentences are handed down now there is almost an expectation they will be too lenient and not represent an appropriate punishment nor an effective deterrent against further crime.

“Since my time as a candidate, I promised Ipswich residents I would push for more robust action on law and order, and I will continue to fight for tougher, clearer and more honest sentences in Parliament over the coming weeks.”

Covid 1-9 Dash Line


In light of the ERG’s success the new China Research Group (CRG) is being formed at a time when we really need to reappraise our approach with China. In short we in the West have for too long been bankrolling their economic growth so they can carry out the most terrible human rights abuses which include:

1) Ethnic cleansing of Tibetans (via forced sterilisation along with other heinous crimes).

2) Locking up over a million Uighur Muslims in prison camps so vast they are visible from space.

3) Ensuring over a billion people have no freedom of association, freedom of religion or freedom to determine their own futures via a democratic vote.

4) Overseeing the ‘dissappering’ of people deemed critical of the state. Now we have yet another Communist classic, yet another self-declared President for life with Xi Jinping.

5) Aggressive actions in the South China Sea which recently resulted in a Vietnamese fishing vessel being sunk by the Chinese. China disputes the UN’s ruling on what constitutes their maritime space and their building of artificial islands with military hardware and other installations run counter to international norms. How many islands do they need to cease or manufacture before the camels back is broken? It is all so very incremental, and very under the radar.

As horrible as the above points are, we in the West have been complicit with this on both a national and consumer level. All so we can buy cheap products (much of which ends up in landfill within a short time frame).

Now we have their latest export, that of Covid-19. China suppressed information on Covid which in turn means many tens of thousands have died that may otherwise have lived had China had been more open and transparent from the beginning. Of course as we know openness and transparency run counter to Communist ideology.

Furthermore in the West governments and policies change on a frequent basis and in China they have been playing the long game. It’s time we smelt the coffee and had a big re-think.

Ideal outcomes from the West and the CRG would be to drive policy towards gradual detachment from China. For the worlds supply chain to be so dependent on a single state is simply a terrible idea at the best of times. A sliding scale of tariffs working upwards would be one idea to consider.

Detachment may take a decade or two, but make no mistake we in the West should be prepared via one method or another to ensure this happens. It is time we joined up business with democracy, democracy by its very nature is delicate and increased Chinese interference is elections is evidence that they are seeking to take advantage of this to their own ends. We should reward states that are on a democratic path with lower tariffs and have a more ethical joined up global business model. Now we are free to do trade deals detached from the EU this is certainly something we should look to factor in to a far greater degree.

How is it fair for example that Chinese companies (which lets face it are all fronts for the Chinese State) are able to buy up western companies yet this ability is not reciprocated? How on earth did we get into this situation? It is something that needs sense checking and the rules should be that they can buy what we in the West can buy of theirs that’s equivalent. For example a port or manufacturing company.

Why does China love buying telecoms and infrastructure? Officially this is all part of their Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) which is all about expanding Chinese influence with 70+ counties all over the world. China clearly has a strategy and it all seems to point towards future conflict in the South China Sea being ever less likely as how can one engage in conflict when they ‘own’ so much of your critical infrastructure? If freedom loving countries won’t stand up to the Chinese threat with their Nine Dash line conquest of the South China Sea then where will China turn next?

As the Wikileaks demonstrated certain Governments were suggesting the West should be assertive where needed to bring China back into line with international norms where needed. Can the West along with our Asian allies even bring about a joined up response or ultimatum as will surly be needed as some given point in time? Currently both the US and Australia is looking at a change of policy that indicates detachment and here in the UK we should play our full part in supporting this as part of a joined up response.

Tim Buttle for Holywells – Why having a bold vision for Ipswich is the key to success

“Unlocking potential” and “getting Brexit done” were clear and concise messages from the general election. They meant something to people who understood what they were getting if they voted Conservative. They were easy messages to communicate in literature and verbalise on the doorstep.
The “what’s in it for me” was understood. 20,000 new police officers, 50,000 more nurses and so on, all clearly defined policies that struck a tone with the voter.
Clarity combined with a highly popular leader and great local candidates resulted in an 80 seat majority. But could the same level of success be achieved in local elections?
Covid19 has frustratingly pushed the Borough Council elections back a year, elections that polls suggested we would have done very well in. However this needn’t be a setback, more an opportunity.
Locally we need to have the same clear messaging that was prevalent in the general elections so that people know what they will get if they vote for us. Otherwise we are simply just asking them to choose between red and blue based on decades old partisan political views. And we know how that turns out for us on a local level.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got – or so they say. Top performing organisations understand that to compete they have to keep getting better each year even just to maintain their position.
Anyone who’s been part of a successful organisation should understand the importance of having a strategy. A vision of what you want to achieve and a plan of how to get there.
What is our vision for Ipswich? A thriving prosperous town with a high quality of life is a good starting point. But with many diverse stakeholders we shouldn’t second guess anything. Very detailed work needs to be done on this and we should use this unexpected time to do this work. We need to make sure we bring as many people on the journey with us, including businesses, institutions and individuals by having a crystalized message tailored for them. We have the mandate as the people’s party on a national level, so let’s act on it locally.
Once we understand the “What” we want to achieve, have consensus as a group and are confident it encompasses the hopes and dreams of our stakeholders we need to move onto the “how”.
Focusing on ward by ward issues are a good start on the “how”, but that’s not going to cut the mustard and get the voters out in the same numbers as “getting Brexit done” did in the general. A new and bold plan for Ipswich is what’s needed. Rejuvenation of the Gipping riverside, incentives to attract businesses to the town, finishing off the waterfront and having zero tolerance of intimidating groups – I only give these as examples of the types of policies that may strike a chord on the doorstep.
Socialist models of government have been trialled across the world with limited success. But the better traits of socialism that appeal to voters (especially on a local level) need to be understood and in some ways replicated. In Ipswich we need to “out socialise the socialists” and show that people are our priority in the same way as the government has done during in the Covid19 crisis.
I’m really looking forward to meeting more residents in Holywells when the campaigning recommences. I’m confident what if we are clear on the “What” and the “How” we will be able to share an exciting vision for Ipswich with our constituents. With their backing we can then begin to start moving our town forward once again.

When are Schools Going to Return?

schoolsMichael Gove was very kind to the unions representing teachers on the Andrew Marr Show recently (10th May). Andrew effectively asked him if the unions’ objection to returning to work was a political vendetta against our Conservative Government. Mr Gove suggested they were just looking out for the health and safety of their members.

I beg to differ. In my view, it is in a majority part of the unions’ philosophy to fight against our Conservative Government, as they still want this to be pre 6 May 2010 or even the late 1970s when the unions controlled the then-Labour governments.

The unions have consistently fought against successive Conservative governments over the last 10 years, but they have failed every time in their objectives, even when that arch-Marxist Corbyn was trying to run the Labour party.

It’s pretty obvious when Labour-controlled Birmingham and Liverpool councils (and others) fall in line with what their union paymasters are telling them, what their objective is.

The new leader of the Labour Party, Sir Sneer Non-Starter, (or Sir In-Hindsight-I-know-best) is too afraid to condemn his union paymasters as well and instead tries to pretend he is still a barrister and try to trip the Prime Minister up at every opportunity, at a time of national emergency, the likes of which have not been seen since 1940.

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Children are missing out on their education and unsurprisingly the less-affluent families are having a more challenging time.

At the same time, thousands of children continue to be taught, as children of key workers. So it can be done.

So a modest step to opening some year groups with 3 weeks’ notice by the Prime Minister is more than adequate time to prepare for such openings, as long as the infection and related data permits this. Instead, unions are wasting this time not even prepared to consider re-opening.

The unions are putting their political objectives of trying to de-stabilise the government above that of the interests of why their members are in the teaching profession  -to teach children.

At the same time, the unions are cheered on by the utterly negative anti-everything-Boris-does-in-this-Covid-Crisis British press (with a new notable exceptions such as the Daily Express), which was the subject of an earlier post.

Tom Hunt had an online meeting with Ipswich Primary Heads. He said “A number of concerns were outlined … however all showed a positive attitude to do everything they can to try and make it work. Ultimately they know their schools better than anybody else and I think they should be trusted to take their own pathways and there must be some flexibility.”

“Currently the Education Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the impact of school closures on young people and its depressing to see how it seems to be children from the most deprived backgrounds that are being most disadvantaged by the status quo, not to mention the number of vulnerable children who are potentially being exposed…This is a phased reopening and clearly a range of guidelines will need to be followed. Class sizes will be far smaller, only a certain number of children will be at school at any one time and the situation will be closely monitored. Parents are right to have concerns and there are a number of questions …that need to be answered. However the status quo is having detrimental effects on many young people and I do think its important that we all proactively work together to try and get more young people attending school from next month.”

Well said Tom.

So I say to teachers and head-teachers, don’t just follow your union leaders’ instructions but instead work with the local authorities and government and start our phased re-opening of schools. Otherwise our future young adults in 2030 will always be scarred as the victims of the union-led disruption to their education, which history could show caused longer term damage to their prospects, than Covid-19 ever did.

 

 

 

Deja vu all over again?

Last year, Sir Sneer Non-Starter (left) said the Government must have a Brexit deal but, no matter what deal it produced, his party would oppose it, as well as no deal. Now he says that they must have a Corona virus exit strategy but he will oppose any strategy they produce. A lawyer, such as he is, will argue their case, whether they believe it or not. Anyone with the brains of an amoeba (below) should be able to understand “Stay alert”, which is the slogan used in France.

Perhaps he hasn’t noticed what happened in the General election just five months ago? His party were slaughtered to the extent that Lady Nugee wrote to a defeated Yorkshire member, probably Caroline Flint: “I’m sorry your constituents are more stupid than mine” – after which she threatened to sue her ex-colleague, but hasn’t done so in five months.

By pursuing the same strategy, is he going to engender the same result, despite his cheap courtroom tricks? Anyway, here is that French poster. Common sense, surely?

Just to explain why he is known as “Captain Hindsight”, Sir Sneer has publicly stated that the “lockdown” should have been imposed two or more weeks earlier, ie by Friday 6th March. A good thing he wasn’t at any large-scale events in person on Sunday 8th, during his party’s leadership election (right), isn’t it?

Deborah Richards for St. Margaret’s Ward

I have lived in Ipswich for the past twelve years and work part-time with homeless teenagers in a professional capacity. I’m also an artist and writer and I love playing bridge. My community work is based at St Mary’s RC Church and includes raising money to help children from poor families go on school trips. I and a colleague also visit two ladies with dementia in a nursing home. As a group we have raised money to buy specialist first aid kits to help keep stab victims alive until an ambulance arrives. There are now fifteen of these kits out in the community at gangland hot spots.
I have five children who have all grown up and got degrees – in fact three of them are postgrads like me – they have settled down and are now starting to have babies. Life goes on and I’m very concerned about climate change and how this will affect future generations.

1. Our Streets Your Safety
Residents of St Margaret’s Ward wish to lobby Suffolk County Council for a safe pedestrian crossing on Park Road at the Northern entrance of Christchurch Park to avoid pedestrians having to dodge parked cars or speeding vehicles when crossing the road. This will be particularly useful during big events in the park and during rush hours. I am collecting resident’s names on a petition for this.

2. Going Electric
Multiple occupancy housing is common in St Margaret’s ward and residents are worried about the difficulty of plugging in electric cars at home. Residents feel that Suffolk County Council should start to think about this problem. If it isn’t dealt with car ownership will become limited to the wealthy who own a drive. I will lobby Suffolk County Council for progress on this issue.

3. Speeding Through Traffic
Local residents are concerned about through traffic speeding along Anglesea Road and Borrowdale Avenue – both of which are designated 20mph areas. As a result Borrowdale Avenue has suffered deep potholes. I propose to lobby Suffolk County Council to position vehicle activated speed signs on both of these roads.

4. Plant 1,000 Trees
In Ipswich we are surrounded by major roads and every time the wind blows the Orwell Bridge shuts and all that traffic comes down Valley Road. Residents are subjected to high levels of pollution from car exhaust and excess noise levels. I propose to plant trees to aid carbon sequestration and reduce noise levels. Trees also hold water to prevent flooding and green spaces aid mental wellbeing. By working with the government Nature & Climate Fund and the Woodland Trust we can plant trees along roads and in wilderness spaces within town parks. Going electric with cars will take years to organise but we can plant trees today.

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