Saturday, May 27, 2006

Not that bloggers ever self obsess...

I've been 'tagged' by Skuds, so I'd better provide my reader with a list.

I am sitting down
I want a socialist government
I wish I had more enthusiasm
I hate intolerance
I love marmite
I miss trains
I fear my boss noticing how rubbish I am
I hear the birds nesting in my roof
I wonder where Tories come from
I regret having spent too much time on regret
I am not as dumb as I look
I dance like no one's watching
I sing to Pantera
I cry at the end of Mean Machine
I make arguments
I write less than I ought to
I confuse myself
I need a good strong coffee
I should get out more
I start as late as possible
I finish the few things I don't forget about
I tag no one. so there

Monday, May 08, 2006

Beer In The Evening

To announce the publication of an epic tome, the book for our times, the answer to all of life's questions:

Beer In The Evening: London Edition

Buy it! Go on, you know you want to, it tells you what real customers think about 250 of London's pubs. If you follow the Amazon link on the BITE page, the authors get a little bit extra. As they are pals of mine, and they put a lot of work into the Beer In The Evening site, and into the book itself.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tory town

It wasn't entirely unexpected, but the way it happened and the actuality are quite disappointing. The Tories won seats in Southgate and Ifield, and got lucky with the drawing of lots for Broadfield North (just as they did in Furnace Green and Maidenbower not so long ago).

So, from a Labour majority of 1 we go to a Tory majority of 1. Bob Lanzer will be the new leader. Duncan Crow will be the deputy. I wonder who else will be running departments. Will Brenda Burgess be tasked with trying to convince tenants to opt for Stock Transfer? Who will have to handle the travellers (and what will they actually DO, now that they have ruled out the only sensible option)? What cuts will they make:

Voluntary sector - currently CBC donates about £600,000 to local voluntary groups. None of them is a loony left 'muslim lesbian single mothers coffee morning' group. They include the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Crawley CVS. Any cuts here will not exactly chime with the national Tory line about using voluntary and charitable bodies to do good in the community

Community Wardens - Labour was going to increase the number of them. If the Tories don't or even more cut them, will that make our streets safer?

Raid the bank - Crawley is one of the few councils in the country which has kept itself debt free. In fact, there's some money in the bank. The easy option would be to spend that money to keep council tax down. However, the interest on it is also used to keep council tax down. So if you dip into those reserves and don't decrease revenue demands, all that will happen is that the savings will disappear. I'm all for using that capital to invest to make savings. But a Council Tax giveaway - while popular - will erode the financial position long term.

One thing I do know - we need a decent, united opposition on the Council. Part of the problem with the group appears to me that they didn't notice that a majority of 16 had gone down to a majority of 1. You can afford posture politics sometimes, but not with a single vote at play.