Monday, 15 June 2009

Iraq Inquiry A Farce

So Gordon Brown has decided to have an enquiry to "answer the questions" about Iraq. This is designed to restore the public's confidence in the Government, from the man who promised a more open and transparent form of politics. The members of the enquiry team are hand appointed by the prime minister, the enquiry will sit in closed session, the terms of reference do not permit it to apportion blame or express a view as to any potential criminal or civil proceedings against any person, no witnesses will be compelled to attend and evidence will not be delivered under oath. Does the word "whitewash" spring to mind. If Brown believes taht people will accept this he is even more misguided than I thought.

Friday, 12 June 2009

TV Discussion

I will be appearing on the Politics Show on BBC1 this Sunday along with a representative from the Green Party to discuss the new Tesco store in Beeston, which was given planning permission last night. I chaired the meeting and voted in favour of the scheme. It seems to me that having a store so close to the High Street, with free parking, may well attract more shoppers into the town. Afetr all, people park at Sainsbury's and visit other shops as well. By ensuring that Tesco's provide free parking for all shoppers for a minimum of 2 hours, which they will sign a legally binding agreement to do, and by removing a shop from the High Road to open up access to the car park, which they have done, I think that the store can be a benefit to the town.

It is however only part of the work. We desperately need to renovate the Square and get new facilities built there. We don't have enough large shop units in Beston to attract the range of retailers that we need, and as a result many companies who would like to have come to us have stayed away. We need to bring them in.

As well as major traders we also need to ensure that there are still spaces for local traders and speciality shops. We don't want to lose the chacater of Beeston so that it becomes just another identikit town.

Issues like this illustrate the genuinely difficult decisions that local politicians have to make week in and week out.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Ineffective Labour Party

This weeks developments show just how ineffective the Labour Party in parliament is - they can't even organise a coup properly. It was obvious on Thursday, with a number of ministers resigning, that there was a plot against Gordon Brown. However it's been botched. All that has happened is that it has left the Prime Minister with a considerable weaked power base and resentment running large through the Labour Party. The Prime Minister has been briefing against his close colleagues, and they have been briefing that they were going to get rid of him. In the end it has all been a farce. throughout all the public have wanted is for there to be a general election so that we can get this lot out of office, but it has never been forthcoming.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Public Good or Private Gain

Labour MP's today need to ask themselves what they value more, doing the right thing for the country or getting the best for themselves. If they want to do their best for the country then they must force Gordon Brown to either quit or call an immediate election. Their all time record low of 15% of the vote in the Euro elections shows that they no longer have any mandate to govern. If they believe that the British people really want them to carry on as they are then let the British people have their say on this.

However these same MP's know taht if there is an election huge numbers of them will lose their seats. They may therefore decide taht it is better to cling on to the bitter end and milk every penny out of the system they can before the public give them the boot.

Apparently the Parliamentary Labour Party have a meeting tonight. We should know very quickly whether they want to do what's right by the country, or whether personal self-interest is their overriding concern.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Election Results

Well done to all our Broxtowe candidates in yesterdays elections who gave us our best ever set of results. We won five of the ten seats in the borough and polled 29% of the vote, above the national average and well above Labour's 19%. The Tories polled 35% so we've got 6% to make up on them.

Nick Palmer has worked hard as an MP but he supports Gordon Browns Government. Labour have come third in Broxtowe now in the last two elections and it is clear that Nick will not win a fourth term as MP. The only question for voters is whether to elect a Tory who doesn't line in the constituency or me, a long term local resident who even Dr palmer himself said would make a very good MP.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


To lose one minister is unfortunate.
to lose two ministers in careless
To lose three ministers in appalling.
But now, to lose four ministers in the period of 24 hours is unprecedented.

Anyone who thinks that the Gordon Brown's government is not falling completely apart is fooling themselves beyond measure.

If Mr Brown really thinks that he has the support of the British public then he can prove it - call the election now. If the public support him they will vote him back in and his authority will be considerably strengthened. On the other hand ....

Monday, 1 June 2009


President Obama has said in an interview with the BBC this evening taht he is doing all he can to ensure the Queen is invited to the D-Day commemerations on 6th June. Two thoughts immediately leap to mind. The first is that many thousands of British soldiers fought and died bravely on D-Day for the liberation of Europe, and for the French not to have ensured that the Queen was invited as a matter of course is a national insult. Second Gordon Brown, as Prime Minister, should have ensured that she was. His failure to act is lamentable. He eventually agreed to go himself, only after pressure from vetrans, but never botehred to ensure that Her Majesty was invited. That it falls to the American President to arrange this represents a serious dereliction of duty by Mr Brown. It's yet another sign, if any more were needed, taht he is not fit for office and that he should call a general election now.

I myself am a pacifist. However I recognise fully the bravery and sacrifice of my grandfathers generation, who fought against the tyrrany of Hitler. Their self-secrifice and what they endured is something that all of us should keep strongly to mind. Not inviting the Queen is an insult to all their memories.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Youth Debate

Earlier this year Nick palmer, Anna Soubry and myself took part in a series of debates around the constituency, setting out the case for our respective parties. I'm delighted to announce that they have both accepted my invitation to run a further debate in the autumn aimed specifically at young people. We'll need to work out the details but with all three of us in agreement there shouldn't be any reason for it not to go ahead.

Call The Election

Two more MP's have been forced to announce that they will not seek re-election at the next general election after what were, in blunt terms, fraudulent expenses claims. this is however unlikley to satisfy most people and I find myself agreeing with David Cameron (not something I've said often) that the only way forward is to call a General Election now.

Vote Match

I've added a new button on the left to Vote Match, a new tool by the movement For Democracy (forermly Charter 88). I took it and fortunately it did suggest that I ought to vote Lib-Dem as they best represent my views, followed by the Green party, which is what I would expect and with UKIP trailing in last.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish

The first BNP councillor elected to Broxtowe has been thrown off the council for failing to attend meetings. In a six month period she did not attend one meeting. Is this how the BNP believe that democracy should work? Good riddance to the racists and lets hope we have no more of them.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Mr Speaker Should Go

Commons speaker Michael Martin has once again shown that he is not competent to fulfill the role he holds. Not content with throwing away crucial rights and privileges of parliament by allowing the police, in an operation driven wholly by the wishes of the Labour Party, to search the offices of a Conservative MP, he now attacks MP's who have criticised their colleagues for having snouts in the trough. Does the man not realise that it is not the disclosures in the newspapers which damage Parliament but the fact that he and his team have allowed MP's to pursue such self-serving greed in the first place? It's no good blaming the messenger when the message makes him uncomfortable. Parliamentry staff should have stopped these abuses before they ever began, and Mr Martin cannot escapte the fact that this all happened on his watch.

Previous Speakers of the House have risked imprisonment and even death to protect the integrity of Parliament. Mr Martin seems to be pursuing a one man crusade to drag it into the mud. If he had any integrity whatsoever he would have resigned over his previous errors, but his latest outburst today must surely convince even his closest friends that he has to go, and to go now.

MP's Expenses

The recent revelations in the Daily Telegraph about the sort of things some MP's have been claiming expenses for drags the whole political system into the gutter. It is no use MP's demanding a police enquiry into who leaked, the focus should be on the greed and downright opportunism of so many MP's using the system to feather their own nests. Just because "it was within the rules" does not mean that it was morally right, or even morally acceptable. Claims for light bulbs, dog food and lawnmowers are wholly unacceptable.

My preferred solution is that accomodation should be provided for MP's in London and then the whole second home claim can be scrapped without any problems. I have no objection to the provided accomodation being comfortably furnished - MP's are after all there to do an important job and I don't require them to wear hair shirts for it. I note from his last e-mail that Nick Palmer MP now agrees with me - I suggested this to him at a debate we had recently. There are two possible venues for this - the County Hall Hotel directly over the river from Parliament (this was Nick's suggestion and I'll give credit where it is due) or alternatively this may be a good use to put part of the Olympic village to after the 2012 games have concluded (not an original idea of mine but I can't recall who first suggested it to me - thank you if it was you).

If this doesn't happen then my pledge is that, if elected as an MP, I will rent (not buy) a modest property in London and I will publish all my expenses claims on my own web site at least quarterly. I will not claim for normal living expenses not connected with my work.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Gurkha Latest

The latest developments in the Gurkha saga, with the immigration minister in full retreat duringan impromptu press conference, showed how much the Government is in disarray and that not only are they out of touch with ordinary people but they have become so arrogant that they no longer care what ordinary people think. On June 4th you will have the chance to show them what we do think, and across the country Labour councillors are braced for massive losses. Here in Broxtowe the Lib-Dems already hold half the county seats and we're going all out to win the rest of them.

After Labour go into meltdown in the County elections we can only hope that Gordon Brown will do the only decent thing left to him and call an early general election.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A Victory For Decency

The Gurkha vote today should send shock waves through the Government and across the country. It's the first time that a Government has lost to an opposition day motion in 30 years. It shows that the prime minister is fatally weakened and it can only be a matter of time before Labour ditch him. However far more importantly, it shows that Parliament can do the right thing. A cynical and jaded public can rightly take great encouragement from this. I'm delighted and immensely proud that the Lib-Dems forced the issue on this, and I will give credit to local labour MP Nick Palmer who joined the rebels.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Labour Apology

Nick Palmer MP has apologised, both personally and publicly, for smearing me in a recent e-mail. he now accepts that the claim that i advocated aid for the Taleban was wholly untrue and, faced with the threat of a legal action that he could not possibly win, he has offered an unreserved apology. The text of Dr Palmers apology reads:

"In my last e-mail I said that David Watts had said that we should have sent aid to the Taleban. I accept that he did not say this and what he actually said was that we should have sent aid to Afghanistan. I accept entirely that David was referring to the people of Afghanistan, and not to the murderous and misogynist Taleban, and I withdraw unreservedly my previous comment and apologise to David for the distress caused."

I'm delighted that this matter can now be regarded as closed and that my reputation has been fully vindicated.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Smeared By Labour

Well I never thought that I would be the subject of a Labour smear e-mail, and especially not from an MP who claims he's above that sort of thing, but that's what's happened. My local Labour MP has sent out an e-mail around the constituency claiming that I said in a debate that I thought we should have sent aid to the Taleban. This is completely and utterly untrue, and what's more he knows it's untrue because when he suggested to my face that this was what I'd said I corrected him and he accepted that.

What I did say, and stand by, is that instead of invading Afghanistan we should have sent aid to the Afghan people. Our local Labour MP disagrees. He's entitled to do that. He voted for war when I'd have voted for peace, and I have no problem with him saying that. However to claim that I had said that we should send aid to what he describes as "the murderous and misogynist Taliban" is nothing more than a downright lie. I have insisted that he makes a full and unreserved apology and withdraws the smear immediately. We'll wait to see whether he does.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tram Phase Two

I'm delighted that the Government have at last made a decision on phase two of the tram, and delighted taht they have made the right decision. I've personally been to London to lobby the Department for Transport twice about the scheme, and this is something that they should have agreed years ago. It's a shame that all the dragging of feet by them has put the project several years behind wher eit could have been, and the increased costs as a result will be considerable.

Still, they have eventually got to the right decision.