Friday, 14 December 2007

Building a better Dover

In December 2007, local Conservatives helped organise a transport day which was attended by Shadow Shipping Minister Julian Brazier MP, Shadow Roads Minister Robert Goodwill MP, Cllr Nigel Collar and myself. Under discussion was a long term solution for operation stack with a lorry parkand a plan to free up the centre of Dover from lorries.

We put forward the idea of lorry parks to stop the Stack. We have also put forward the proposal for fully duelling the A2. This should, of course, been done 10 years ago. It was axed from the roads programme by John Prescott and is an example of the way we have been disgracefully neglected.

We also put forward the proposal that the A2 should be the route to the Eastern docks and the M20 to the Western docks once built. This would free up the centre of Dover and help the regneration plans to be a success. That KCC have taken these matters up and that Shadow Ministers visit is evidence that a Conservative Government would end the years of underinvestment in our community. That's why we need change.

Photo (L to R) C Cllr Keith Ferrin (Tranport Cabinet Member KCC) Cllr NigelCollar (Transport Cabinet Member DDC), Robert Goodwill MP, Julian Brazier MP and Charlie Elphicke

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Carols at the Dover Removal Centre

I attended the most moving carol service at the Dover Removal Centre. There I met with many of detainees and listened to their stories of how they ended up in the removal centre.

Some people think that border security is simply about chucking people out of the country. They say it doesn't happen often enough and the Government has been weak on the issue. Yes, Britain is pretty much full and yes the Government has made a real mess of things, allowing our borders to be highly porous and not getting a grip on bogus asylum seekers.

Yet that does not mean we should lack compassion. We should always be willing to hold out a hand to those in real need of asylum. And when we have allowed people to come to Britain, when they have put down roots and built a family, I cannot find it in my heart to say they should be thrown out and the family split up. So I have taken up cases such as these and done my best to help.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Labour have killed our Post Offices

A short update to my previous post. It is now confirmed that all 6 post offices in the Dover & Deal constituency will close. Labour have really lost the plot - this means that many communities will effectively have no post office services. It's absolutely tragic.

I'd like to pay tribute to the many in the community who fought valiantly to put a stop to the closures. And to councillors of all parties who fought hard for the community.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Labour killing our Post Offices

Labour are closing 6 post offices locally. People in Capel have told me how angry they are as their post office was paid for by the village and only opened a few years ago. Mr Patel, who runs an excellent post office and shop in Sholden only did the shop up a couple of years ago. Where's his investment going to be thanks to the Government's crazy closure campaign? Mr Ferrier pictured here is lucky - his post office in the centre of Deal is not one earmarked for closure. Yet he'll probably have big queues come Christmas with two post offices local to Deal looking like they'll be closing. Dover town also loses two post offices.

This is the decision making of the madhouse. I've been getting up a petition to Parliament to try and get the Government to see sense. Considering how they have been making such a mess of everything they do lately, this does seem a bit unlikely. There's always hope . . .

Friday, 23 November 2007

Eastry coffee morning

Going to the Eastry drop in coffee morning was a great chance to chat to residents over a cuppa. Pictured standing beside me is Cllr Nick Kenton.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Paper boat race

On their marks . . . Pictured (L to R): Ken Tranter, Cllr Jan Tranter (Lab), me, Barry Williams and Cllr Nigel Collor

Go! Pictured (L to R): Stewart Dimmock (in naval uniform), Barry Williams, Cllr Jan Tranter, me, Cllr Nigel Collor and Ken Tranter
Stewart Dimmock, who is a school governor and father of two, recently won a High Court fight about the distribution of Al Gore's film to schools. The ruling was seen as a major reverse for Al Gore and the Government.

Phil Reilly's leaving drinks

When well known and respected Dover journalist Phil Reilly moved from the Dover Express to the Kent on Sunday in the Summer of 2007, a good send off was had. Pictured here (L to R) is Vic Matcham, Phil, Cllr Paul Watkins (Leader of DDC) and Cllr Nigel Collor.

Vic ran as an independent candidate at the last general election - he's now joined the Conservative Party. Welcome abaord!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Community safety day and Pencester Park

With PCSO Phillips, Cllr Jan Tranter (Lab) and Cllr Nigel Collor (Con) and many others, I supported the community safety day at Pencester Park. This was back in the Summer of 07, when the evenings were still light.It was a fun time. People told me about being woken up in the middle of the night, intimidation, getting beaten up and house breaking. More community respect and Police powers will do much for safety and security in Dover. Seems clear to me that we should support the Police with zero tolerance policing powers and get more police on our streets.

Fun in Aylesham

Back in the Summer of 2007 the Aylsham by election meant some campaigning. Along the way we stopped off at Father Jeff's Church Fair and were treated to strawberry tea! Sadly I didn't win a coconut this time . . . memo to self: "must try harder!"

After a long day of campaigning, the team enjoyed the hospitality of the Snowdown Colliery Welfare Club.

Feted to have fun in Alkham

A beautiful summers day at the Alkham Valley Fete back in the Summer where I enjoyed a fine day out with local River Ward Conservative Councillor and leading light Sue Nicholas. And . . . I won a coconut!!

On patrol 2

Going on the patrol was a real experience. Later on I saw Dover at its most enthusiastic, yet alcohol makes some violent and there were arrests . . . I was amazed at how patient the Police are.

Sgt Parkes is on the left. Gemma here was out on the town for the first time in a year having had her baby ten weeks before (congratulations!). She was understandably in a very good mood.

On patrol 1

I went round with the Police for a full shift in November 2007 - 7pm Sat to 3am Sun. Earlier on I went round with PCs Lidgely (L) and Hawkes (R), seen here.

We met swarms of bored young people in River. They told me they wanted more activities in Dover for younger people. The Council is working to get more for younger people to do.

Dover Labour Mayor joins Conservatives

Following the publication of his "Breakdown Britain" report in the Summer of 2007, Iain Duncan Smith (right) visited Dover. Iain met with residents of Buckland and St Radigunds, touring the Triangle Centre in St Radigunds and meeting with representatives of Buckland Together.
Mr Duncan Smith also met with Ken Tranter (left), former Labour Mayor of Dover, and welcomed him to the Conservative Party. Also pictured is Susan Wilson who runs the Triangle Centre.
The DoverForum reported - "Former and recent Labour Mayor, Ken Tranter, caused something of a local furore last week when he turned his back on all things socialist and joined the Conservative Party. This was quite a shock in some quarters, and has caused consternation of earth shattering shockwave proportions amongst the local political elite."

Join the referendum petition

If you agree we should have a referendum, do print this out and send it to me.

Yes referendum!

We should have a referendum on the EU Constition / Treaty. The EU costs loads, there's a real issue on whether we get value for money and EU rules make up 6 out of 10 of our laws. The Constitution / Treaty takes things to a new level of integration.

I thought this is something we should all have a say about. So we got a licence from the Bank of England to print money in September 2007 and put out this leaflet seeking a petition for a referendum on the EU constitution / Treaty across Dover & Deal to see what people thought.

I have never had such a response to a leaflet. Over a thousand people joined the petition.

The leaflet was printed at Buckland Press in Dover and pictured here is Roger Gale MP and Kevin Snoad, MD of Buckland Press.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Remembrance Sunday

As I laid a wreath of remembrance, I reflected how the World Wars of the last century seem so far away now. Yet still we will remember what our fathers and grandfathers did for us. Their fight then gained our freedom today.

And we will never forget the destruction visited on Dover by shell fire from occupied France. We still live with the results. Dover should have been awarded the George Cross.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Port - bigger, independent but no privisation!

Photo: L to R: Bob Goldfield, CEO of Dover Harbour Board, Charlie Elphicke, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Dover & Deal and Julian Brazier MP, Conservative Shadow Shipping Minister.

Julian Brazier MP, Conservative Shadow Shipping Minister and I met with Dover Harbour Board Chief Executive Bob Goldfield to discuss the future of the Port of Dover. We are supporting Government Harbour Revision Order proposals which will aid the Western Docks expansion and give the Port more independence without the threat of privatisation. I want to see two directors on the Harbour Board jointly appointed by Kent County Council and Dover District Council to help strengthen the growing partnership between the Port and the community.

I was delighted that we won support for these important changes, which will hopefully quickly clear Parliament. I listened carefully to the community. People told me they want to see the job creating Port expansion happen quickly and more local accountability without privatisation. If our proposals are taken up in full, these community goals can be delivered.

The Port has increasingly been a positive partner in the Dover Renewal and it is essential that this should continue. Two community appointed directors on the Harbour Board can be a bridge to the betterment of Dover and the Port for the long term.


My family have lived in East Kent for many years and we live on the seafront in Deal. My wife Natalie and I have two children – Charlotte 7 and Thomas 9 months.

Natalie went to Clarendon House grammar in Ramsgate. My mother in law lived in Shepherdswell and taught at local primary schools. So I am passionately concerned about improving school and vocational education and realising our opportunities.

My father in law is a lorry driver. He used to work for Kent Salads. In my job, I specialise in inward investment and British job creation. Yet wages locally are £378 a week – below the Kent average, while unemployment is higher than the average. I want to see that change. I am excited about job opportunities from our dominant distribution position combined with our knowledge industries.

I believe we can achieve greater success across the board. The wealth gap is too high and I want to see this fall. We need a Britain we can all feel part of.

There is not enough respect for older people. My late father, an alzeimer's sufferer, lived in a home that closed down at Bossington near Aylesham. In the last ten years, pensions have seen tax raids. Low annuities are cut further by mean tested pension credit. That state pension is too low and should be higher. Older people should get more respect and have enough money to retire with dignity. The 17,000 pensioners who live locally deserve better than that.