Thursday, 31 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Redlands LibDem councillor Daisy Benson, elected after Singleton-White's condoning of fraud shamed the Labour councillors into humiliating defeat, wants to be the LibDem parliamentary candidate for Reading West, and has a platform now. Not helpful was it Stuart? Still, now you are in charge of Reading Buses, so onward to fresh triumphs. Hein?
"it would not be appropriate nor possible to remove this site from the Site and Detailed Policies Document". That is, er, earmarking the site for development. That is Basher's lie. In fact of course it would be entirely possible to remove the site from that document. That is Cllr Page's lie. I would have thought better of you Tony. They lie to try and save Park ward. But they lost Park ward a long time ago - when then Cllr Howarth watched the football on telly with Cllr Fatboy Hartley instead of going out with their then MP and her team and meeting residents; when Salter's hired thug beat up a Park ward candidate outside the mosque; when the then councillor team, with the honourable exception of then Cllr Christine Borgars, sneered at the residents of Green Road who were worried about the mosque development; when they put in the do-nothing Shirley Merriott, whose haircut alone lost Labour at least 50 votes, as a present for her help in the deselection of their Labour MP; when they told the electorate that fraud in east Reading elections was just fine; and now when they refuse to engage with the electorate and simply tell them lies, very loudly, in leaflets paid for by the taxpayer with money given to Mr Salter and donated to Mr Howarth's Public Impact propaganda outfit. Lost. All gone.
In the name of God, go.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Mr Salter actually spoke in the Chamber this week. He prefaced his remarks with this:
It is a pleasure to follow Tony Baldry. I can give him some comfort. I have just done a quick count around the Chamber and a clear majority of Members did not vote for the Iraq war. Let us glory in our purity for a few moments.
That may have been the case on the day. Mr Salter himself certainly did not vote against the Iraq war, despite telling everyone who would listen that he had, and informing the Reading party: "I walked through the No lobby with the full mandate of this party".
He continues later:
We also considered the election of Select Committee Chairs. In 2001, a fiasco occurred within the parliamentary Labour party because of the Executive's attempts to determine who their scrutineers were and to decide that Donald Anderson and Gwyneth Dunwoody were too good at their jobs and would therefore be excluded from the list of people put forward for the Select Committee. The parliamentary Labour party for once was not a poodle, and it rose up. As a result, we brought our internal democracy into that process, and the elected Back-Bench Members in the PLP had a say in the names put forward.
That did indeed happen, and I voted to remove the whips from the appointment of Select Committee chairs, and received a message of thanks from the late Gwyneth Dunwoody. Mr Salter omits to inform us that on that occasion he voted the other way.
Towards the end of his remarks he says this:
The farce of private Members' Bills is currently an exercise in using up time. We march the non-governmental organisations and lobby groups up to the top of the hill, and an inordinate amount of time, paper and rain forest is wasted in debating matters that will never get through, because a Government Whip can stand up on a Friday morning and shout, "Object." For goodness' sake, we have to be better than that.
Er, Martin, how often have you actually turned up on a Friday? Or on any other day? The whips don't stand up to shout "Object". They do it from a sedentary position. Do try and keep up. You've only had 12 years to try and learn how to be a parliamentarian.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
In the name of God, go.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
I reproduce what is below, including the personal contact details, because they were posted on a public forum, without comment other than to say that I am aware of Dominic Jackson as a former constituent in Reading East, where as far as I can ascertain he still lives, and I wonder aloud what inspired him to visit an MP for another constituency, whether he visited his own MP on these matters, and especially what Mr Salter was playing at using taxpayer funded facilities to write letters to and on behalf of people he is not paid to represent. The Wiki Mr Jackson links to even has a button for people to check who their MP is if they are unsure. The whole matter relates to the Digital Economy Bill, which those interested can investigate further if they are so minded.
If Mr Jackson has moved to Reading West in the meantime I apologise to him.
Adopted by Dominic Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 07791 608873). Visited surgery on 11th December 2009, had 10 minute chat re: DEB. Gave Salter a briefing document with a list of concerns about the Bill. Salter admitted that he is a technophobe/luddite and declared this document very useful and thanked me for providing it. Was asked directly if a member of a campaigning organisation and readily admitted I was an ORG member. Salter's opening remark was that if he created an artistic work, why shouldn't he be entitled to profit from it. I replied that I was not saying he could not, only that for artistic works such as music and movies that can be represented as digital data, it's difficult to control that distribution when copying is so easy. Also pointed out that digital technology makes it ever-cheaper to record music. I noted that artists now make more money from playing live than selling records - for example, in the mid-1960s, concerts were a means of promoting records and thus selling more of them. Now, the recorded music an artist produces might be considered a way of promoting his concerts, where he makes more money (and can sell merchandise like T-shirts to fans and earn money from this). I pointed out that I have my favourite artists, who I make a point of buying CDs from, but others I don't care so much about I might just download but without ever having had the intention of buying it - so they haven't lost a sale. I pointed out that my briefing document listed plausible reasons other than "piracy" for the drop in CD sales and I also asked Salter to discuss with some teenagers what CDs mean to them. Young people today often place no value on CDs - music is something to be accessed "here and now" without having a collection of silver discs around. My briefing document expanded upon this by saying CDs are effectively an obsolete product as far as a large market segment is concerned. I also pointed out that [http://www.homecinemachoice.com/blogs/team_hcc/UK+dvd+sales+booming DVD sales have risen], and only declined in 2009 because Blu-Ray sales took off. [http://www.homecinemachoice.com/blogs/team_hcc/UK+dvd+sales+booming Cinema attendances are at a 40-year high level]. I used these to try to get him to question the core assertion that there *is* a problem with revenue for the entertainment industry being affected by file sharing and therefore that legislation was needed. I think this point needs re-addressing with him. I noted in my briefing document (which he flick-read, saying that he would pass it to more technically aware members of his constituency office - but he was interested in my section on the "background to the Bill").
Pointed out that the movie industry tried to sue the video recorder out of existence in the USA in the early 1980s (which Salter found quite amusing) - used this to demonstrate that a new business of selling films on videotape to end consumers emerged. Noted that the entertainment industry always opposes new technology.
Salter noted that my attitude seemed a little socio-anarchic, as in "I can share files and therefore I will" - I should have addressed this point more strongly but I did reply that it's more a case of "anyone can share files and trying to stop it is futile (when copying technology is so advanced)". I need to address with him more strongly that, as my briefing document explained, trying to base a business on controlling media distribution is likely to fail and that newer models are required. Salter is to write to Stephen Timms on my behalf and followup through his constituency office. I shall followup his reply when received.
-- Dominic Jackson 11-12-2009 19:09
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Pity though that there has been a firm refusal to look at claims from 1997-2001,for which years Mr Salter fraudulently claimed over 40K for a non-existent London property. But fraud is OK, isn't it, Mr Singleton-White?
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
The One by Jane Griffiths
Politics, as somebody once said, is like making sausages in that the public should only see the end product. The One by former Reading East MP Jane Griffiths tears the veil from the sausage factory of Reading Labour politics.
The outline of the story itself would be already familiar to those acquainted with workings of Reading Labour Party & who followed subsequent events through the media. In the 1997 general election both the previously Tory held Reading seats fell to Labour. Reading East was taken by Jane Griffiths, a Borough Labour Councillor, while former Deputy Council Leader Martin Salter triumphed in Reading West.
Before long, Jane fell out big time with Martin & his Reading Party/Council clique. A campaign was instigated to first undermine & then oust the Reading East MP. The first de-selection attempt failed in 2000, the second succeeded in 2004 (the first de-selection of a sitting Labour MP in a decade). As a result of the infighting, the Tories narrowly re-took Reading East in 2005.
The One is a fluent & insightful fleshing out of these events. While a casual reader may be tempted to dismiss Jane’s allegations as paranoia, they definitely ring true for anyone familiar with Mr Salter’s Bisexual shenanigans (the latter not being covered by the book!)
For example, during the period when the two shared a Westminster office, Jane accuses Martin of spying on her mail for the benefit of the whips. This fits with the arrangement that Mr Salter, while Deputy Council Leader, had with the then Council Chief Executive Geoff Filkin that he would see Labour Councillors’ mail.
While hardly skimping on length & detail at nearly 300 A4 manuscript pages, there are still several tantalising passages where a curious reader might be left wanting more.
For instance, Martin’s resignation from the Council in 1996 to concentrate on General Election campaigning. Jane tells us that that this was to dodge the flak from a Council corruption scandal without spelling out his precise involvement.
Or former Councillor & Reading Party Chair Mike Price’s decamping to Australia to escape an unspecified scandal.
Perhaps most interesting of all, the allegation that Martin claimed £1000 per month between 1997 & 2001 in Parliamentary allowances for a non-existent property but this was not breaking any laws or rules in force at the time!
The Reading Labour cronyism described at times becomes comic farce. Such as the work for producing Reading Labour literature being given to a PR firm run by former Reading Party Chair John Howarth, leading to hilarious gaffes such as “Your better off with Labour”.
Jane’s comments on national & international issues (such as her still unashamed support for the Iraq war) would take up more than another review.
Although something worth mentioning is the author’s self-declared feminism permeating the book (she describes her Reading Labour enemies as “the boys” although they were not all male). Jane recalls how, after her de-selection, the Government Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong, laughed in her face. Something that feminists seem to ignore is how some women, once they get into positions of power, can be worse tyrants than men, just as much to other women. Although this of course, is a quite a separate matter.
As a tale told well of political treachery, The One is well worth reading by anyone with an interest in politics in general, & Reading politics in particular.