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The despatch box

We're you thinking what the Conservatives were thinking? Did you believe the Lib Dems were the real alternative? Is Labour moving forward not back? This blog will focus on all things political. It will be irritating, agitating and maybe just maybe it will get you thinking.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Was cannabis to blame?

Some people believe cannabis isn't a harmful drug. Within the Conservative party, unlike Labour, we are prepared to debate these issues. I am still not convinced that the Government's decision to downgrade cannabis was the right one.

This view was confirmed today with the news that the police believe the prime suspect in the stabbing of Abigail Witchalls was Richard Cazaly, who later killed himself.

The police note that, "Mr Cazaly became psychotic and violent as a result of long-term abuse of drugs and the alcohol he had consumed on the day of the stabbing".

The question for me is what effect is long term cannabis use having on people, and isn't this something we really need to be concerned about?

Monday, November 14, 2005

What a headline!

According to the BBC,

"Doctor training is being undermined because of a lack of dead bodies to study, the government says"

Any ideas?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Time to turn to crime

A copy of my article written for the great conservativehome wesbite:-

There are some within the Conservative party who think being a “moderniser” is a dirty word. Others believe that only “right wing” solutions can reinvigorate our party. Both propositions are wrong.
The party needs to recognise the importance of having clear thought out policy platforms on issues like the environment, and international development. We can’t ignore issues such as energy – which will dominate the next few years and have to ensure we have well thought out policies on both renewables and - the “Cinderella” of the debate – energy efficiency. At the same time we have to ensure we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore issues where the public perceive we are much better equipped to deliver than the current Government. One such issue is Law and Order.
During the last election the party was criticised for concentrating too much on the issue of Crime and Law and Order, but is that criticism justified? As a candidate I stressed the issue of crime, and pushed the slogan “Time to put the law back into Bassetlaw” in my constituency wide newspaper. Why did I do it? Not because I wanted to concentrate on a policy that would just appeal to a core Conservative vote – but because it was an issue that was being talked about locally.
Crime in Nottinghamshire rose 17% between 98/99 and 03/04 with a decrease of 18 police stations. Our policy commitment of over 740 new police for the county was warmly welcomed. The previous Labour Council had installed CCTV to monitor a local community centre that had continued the get vandalised. Unfortunately they put the cameras on 8 foot high poles – so the cameras were stolen hours after their installation. Incidents such as this were one of the reasons why Bassetlaw returned a Conservative Council for the first time in 25 years.
To those who suggest the Conservatives should stop “banging on” about crime I say it would be remiss of any opposition not to. We would not only be failing the victims of crime – but failing the law abiding public. Linked to crime is the issue of drug use.
My admirable opponent in the election stated, “In most of the schools in my constituency the recreational use of cannabis is 100 % among 16 year olds.” I believe that the decision taken by the Labour Government on cannabis reclassification was wrong. The Police Federation stated that the downgrading of the drug could lead many people into believing it was a legal drug. The British Medical Association has said that smoking cannabis increases the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema. That’s not to mention the mental health problems which are linked to the drug.
Under this Government prisons are now almost full to capacity. Labour’s solution is tagging – but tagging doesn’t stop criminals offending when they are out on early release. We need to commit to building more prisons - because prison works. More needs to be done to ensure prisons are drug free, and that more is done to educate inmates with basic skills in order to combat recidivism.
The current Government has made anti social behaviour a priority. Yet they believe you create a café culture by opening pubs 24 hours a day. I would suggest you create a café culture by opening more cafés, not by turning many of our towns and cities into no go areas during the evening.
What is clear is Labour is failing on the issue of law and order and the Conservative party needs to continue highlighting these failings whilst offering real solutions to these serious issues.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Here it is!!!!

Any advice where the x shold go??

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The clash of two titans

Well actually it was just myself and Roger Helmer MEP each championing our own leadership contender at a Conservative meeting in Lincoln.

What was extremely pleasing was there was more agreement than differences between us and I stressed that whoever wins on December 6th needs the full support of everyone in the party so that the fight can be taken to the Labour party.

Roger backed Cameron as he suggested that he had the image that would allow us to win back those voters who had deserted us in the past.

My perspective was that it is actually policies that attract people - which is why I have backed Davis from day one.

Roger also focussed on the stance taken by Cameron with regards the EPP - which is understandably is an issue of immense concern for him.

My worry still persists that our leader is going to be chosen on the back of perceived image rather than substantial policy. Roger argued that image was hugely important - but I made the analogy that a football team can change its manager and expect better results - but what you really need is new players.

For me, the way to win back those who left us - is by setting out clear policies that appeal to people.

One comment summed up the situation so far:-

"Jonathan - I agreed with everything you said - but Im not sure Im going to vote for Davis... yet".

A month to go - and more healthy debates to be had within the party.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ello Ello Ello - What's all this then!

Now that the Government's terror plans are in complete turmoil Charles Clarke has suddenly had the idea of asking the public what they think. I received the email below only minutes ago:-

If in doubt consult.

Oh dear oh dear

I am emailing you today to find out your views on the action the Government is proposing to take to challenge the new terrorist threats that face all of us.

Since the London bombings of 7 July, we all know that the UK faces a terrorist threat of a different level of seriousness and complexity from anything Britain has faced before. We are confronting extremists whose aims are to kill and maim as many people as possible, to strike at the heart of our society and destroy what we stand for. These terrorists are part of complex international organisations that make ever greater use of new technology such as encrypted computers. Further attacks remain a real possibility, so action to protect our citizens is urgent.

The Government has introduced the Terrorism Bill, currently going through Parliament, to try and ensure that the police and intelligence services have the powers they need to stay ahead of the new breed of terrorist. Yet some are opposing the Government's proposals, which come on the advice of specialist anti-terrorist police.

Facing up to the challenges of the new terrorist threat is so important; we want to have your views as soon as possible.
Please go the Labour website to register your views. Click here to go there now.

Best wishes
Charles Clarke
Home Secretary


No its not yesterdays leadership debate on Question Time.

I have been asked to speak at a Consevative gathering in Lincoln. Roger Helmer MEP will be putting forward the case as to why he is backing David Cameron - and I will be putting forward the case for David Davis.

It should be a fun afternoon!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

And there he was gone!

The results are in and its an away victory for Chris Grayling MP. Blunkett wasnt going to go - but the pressure kept mounting until he effectively had no choice. Im not one to kick a man when he's down - but I'm sure Mr Blunkett won't be short of job offers - and Tony is sure to look after one his "own". You only have to look at one Peter Mandelson.

The question is where next for Blunkett?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time to say goodbye.....

Blunkett praying for a miracle??

In the words of Mr Blunkett:-

"The pressure is not continuing.

"The prime minister has made his decision and, no matter what the Conservative Party want, I am not resigning.

"This is a straight political battle with the Conservative Party and their allies in the media, and decency. "I have done nothing wrong at any stage. I have been transparent about everything I have done."

In the words of senior Labour MP Ian Gibson:-

"If it was me I would feel so compromised I wouldn't want to stay - I'd admit I'd made a mistake."

I can alraedy hear the words resign! resign! echoing throughout the chamber!

Taxing questions

Over at David Davis for leader there is an excellent article on tax which I would recommend to anyone. Worth a red - and poses some interesting questions
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