Sunday, 17 August 2008

RIP Harry

My dog Harry died this morning. He was nearly 17 and if he had lived until the end of the week then we would have been together for 16 years.

I couldn't have had a more faithful and loving friend during that time. I don't mind admitting that I'm heartbroken.

Harry came from Battersea Dog's Home, where he had been re-homed three times before we rescued him on a sunny Friday afternoon in 1992. He was full of character and life; mischievous, obedient and stubborn in equal parts.
He became known throughout Littledown and Iford as he was the mascot in 2005 of the campaign to oppose the green belt development proposed there, appearing on posters in people's windows across the ward.

I loved him very much, and I'll miss him terribly.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

When is a tax cut not a tax cut....?

You know when you hear something on the radio news and you don't quite believe you heard it so have to make sure you listen to the next bulletin in case you misheard it.

I had one of those moments today listening to the radio 4 news this afternoon.

Yvette Cooper MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was talking about what the Government was doing to help people hit by rising prices.

She told us that they were 'cutting taxes' like 'removing the additional 2p rise in fuel duty on a litre of petrol'.

So that would the Government cutting a tax they haven't imposed yet.  You can't cut taxes you haven't imposed, and in this case you shouldn't be imposing a tax in the first place.  

The preposterousness (is that a word?) of the Government's justification of the mess they have us in just get worse.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Castleford, empty houses and the RSS

What do these three things have in common?

Well, we've just been watching a programme on Channel 4 about the regeneration of Castleford, where there are apparently streets of houses sitting empty amongst other symptoms of urban decay.  This appears to have been largely brought about by the demise of the mining and other industries in the area.

It was a good example of why this kind of area deserves more than its fair share of Government funding.

However, it made me ask the question why the Government is forcing us to concrete over huge areas of the Green Belt around Bournemouth and Poole while there are clearly areas of housing standing empty in the north.

This Government's prioritisation of funding for the north has resulted in superior infrastructure for those areas receiving it.  Greater funding for local authorities has also resulted in much lower rates of council tax for residents.  This has, it would appear, lead to complacency over issues such as recylcing (see here).

Proper regeneration of deprived areas of the country should be lead by private investment.  In the 1980's the government encouraged new businesses by offering tax breaks, incentives, pump prime funding and practical assistance to start up businesses prepared to relocate to those areas.

They also prioritized those areas requiring regeneration when they decided where to relocate those government departments and agencies being moved from Central London.  

That kind of practical intervention and assistance would begin to bring true regeneration through opportunity to deprived areas, partculalry those in the North.  Maybe then there wouldn't be the need for the Government to propose such enormous housing growth here in South East Dorset.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

AFC Bournemouth - A question of fairness?

Rotherham football club will start the new season with a 17 point deficit as a consequence of their not coming out of administration in a proper manner.

Apparently the same threat hangs over AFC Bournemouth and the fate of the club will be decided by the Football League today.

Deducting points from the club would seem to me to be completely retrograde. They were already relegated last season and if the club is to have any chance of survival, let alone thriving, then success on the pitch is an, if not the, essential component.

Making the team start with a points deficit from which they will find it difficult if not impossible to recover doesn't seem fair to me. More importantly it seems terribly unfair for the players and the fans. They shouldn't be penalised for problems in the boardroom.